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OpenDaylight: Building an Open Source Community around SDN

It’s great to see Cisco and many companies across the industry make a major change in the use of Open Source via the newly form project hosted by the Linux Foundation called OpenDaylight. This consortium is an industry-wide, open and transparent effort to catalyze innovation and accelerate an application ecosystem for software-defined networking. With all the partners involved we are working to not only further development and adoption of SDN but also to foster a new developer community. A consortium like this has been long overdue and it’s great to finally see it come to fruition.

We are incredibly pleased to partner with Arista, Big Switch Networks, Brocade, Citrix, Dell, Ericsson, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Intel, Juniper Networks, Microsoft, NEC, Nuage Networks, PLUMgrid, RedHat and VMware on the Project. This is the largest effort to date to drive Software-Defined Networking across the industry and into new markets.  While the initial goal is to build a common, industry backed SDN Platform, the broader objective is to give rise to an entire ecosystem of developers that can freely utilize the code, contribute to the project and commercialize the offerings. I further expect the ecosystem to expand into areas like tools and services.

Cisco has donated our core “Cisco ONE” controller code to the project and has officially open sourced the code under the Eclipse Public License. The community has come together around this code to form the architecture (see below) for the Open SDN Framework. Beyond donations of code, Project members are supporting the project via both financial investment and via developers we are committing to work full-time on the project overall. Donations from other members of the Project can be seen here and we expect this list to only grow.

As Open Source increasingly becomes a standard for customers and developers, we look at this as a new way to meet our customer needs and also help developers innovate in new ways without the barriers of vendor lock-in. Open Source is increasingly important for our customers and developers as well and as they evolve, we evolve. Cisco to date has supported Open Source through efforts such as OpenStack and now OpenDaylight and we look at Open Source as a critical pillar in our software strategy moving forward. By allowing developers to freely use these solutions we hope to enable a new developer ecosystem for software-defined networking and more. We are fully committed to enabling developers, both current and new, to deliver innovating applications and services that will help customers across the board realize the value of SDN faster than before.

The OpenDaylight architecture and code offering to date includes a modular southbound plugin architecture for multi-vendor environments. In addition, OpenDaylight offers an extensible northbound framework with both Java & REST APIs to ensure multiple developer skill-sets can build applications to the platform. We are also planning to build a onePK plugin for OpenDaylight to enable multiple users to drive network intelligence into their SDN applications. As you can see from below we will also be supporting key standards with this effort, including OpenFlow.




It’s important to note that you don’t launch a community; you build one. By investing in OpenDaylight we hope that our customers, partners and developers across multiple industries will now have the ability to build applications that frankly make the network easier to use and more automated. As an industry we are moving in a new direction and further up the stack and OpenDaylight offers new opportunities for application creation and monetization beyond the networking layer.

It’s a true rarity when you see both partners and competitors come together for the good of the community, and contribute code for the universal good of the customer. All OpenDaylight participants have committed to open source guidelines that include open communication, ethical and honest behavior, code and roadmap transparency and more. An Open Source project is only as successful as the community of developers and the level of code quality, and OpenDaylight’s Board of Directors (which includes multiple parties cross-industry) will be ensuring that partners, code contributors and project committers all abide by the same guidelines for the success of the project over the success of their own company’s offerings.

For more information, please see Code will be available for download soon, and we are looking for interested individuals for commitments across the board – from technical offerings to application development, and we welcome contributions from both individuals and other organizations. All ideas are welcome, and we look forward to multiple new innovative solutions coming from this.

Congratulations to all our partners and individuals who helped to make this happen, including the hard work done by the Linux Foundation. It’s truly an amazing accomplishment and we expect to see much more in the near future.

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OpenDaylight: The Start of Something Big for SDN

April 8, 2013 at 4:08 am PST

So, after weeks of biting my tongue through what seemed like a constant drip of leaks and rumors, we can finally take the covers off OpenDaylight.  So, lets cover some of the basics:


OpenDaylight is an open source project formed under the Linux Foundation with the mutual goal of furthering the adoption and innovation of Software Defined Networking (SDN) through the creation of a common industry-supported framework--essentially we are building a open source SDN stack.



This is the cool part--the Project has drawn members from across the industry.  Its actually been pretty interesting working with all these companies towards a common goal over the last few weeks--kinda like an all-star team. This is an open project, so any company can join the project at any time and any developer can get involved.

OpenDaylight Members


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Infrastructure Software: SDN makes network management a first class citizen

April 7, 2013 at 9:41 am PST

Back in May 2012 Mike Fratto predicted in his blog that SDN will be “Reborn in Network Management”. There is a lot of truth to his statement. The words “software defined” in “Software Defined Networking (SDN)” inspired people to rethink the overall control plane architecture of the network making the case for infrastructure software that complements software already embedded in virtual and physical devices, (e.g., the software and protocols running in and between network elements).

We are evolving our treatment of the network.  What once was a discrete set of loosely coupled devices will now be interacted with as a system.  To get there means the network must be represented by an overall system model. Classic network management functions become an integral part of the infrastructure software, and will spawn their own management requirements. SDN makes network management a first class citizen. Effectively we’re past the time when network management was an afterthought, or when network management was an operational silo. The coming integration of network management into the larger network software domain means infrastructure managers will not only manage and operate, but also actively contribute to the overall business proposition of the IT infrastructure. Read More »

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Three Truths about Networking – the Next Chapter

It’s great to see, hear and read various points of view on the evolution of networking.  It’s a hot topic right now, highlighting the fact that the network is at the center of the market transitions driven by Mobile, Cloud, new breeds of Apps and the Internet of Things.  Technical leaders from my team have become road warriors recently, talking to customers, media and investors about the evolution in networking, sometimes referred to as Software Defined Networking (SDN)

There’s a healthy debate in the market about SDN, and with any debate comes confusion. SDN’s initial definition (the logical separation of routing and switching control plane and data plane) has been stretched so far that it has come to mean something different to everyone.

There are plenty of use cases driving the attention that SDN is receiving today.  For instance, Service Providers are looking at trends like Network Functions Virtualization for network elasticity as an opportunity to create greater business value by launching new services quickly.  Traditional enterprises think about SDN as a way to rein in the operational and management complexity of data centers to scale infrastructure.  Academic institutions want open source controllers, so they can economically slice campus networks for both production and research purposes.  At least one thing is crystal clear: one size does not fit all when it comes to deploying SDN.

In some circles SDN has become synonymous with the erosion of value in the underlying networking infrastructure – the hardware and the ASICs. There is an argument purporting that when network intelligence is abstracted into software, hardware and silicon innovation will become less important and even commoditized.

I’m going to take this opportunity to address these misperceptions about the changes taking place in networking with three truths about the next chapter in networking as Cisco sees it.

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SDM: Software Defined Manageability

April 2, 2013 at 2:52 pm PST

Much has been made of the emergence of Software Defined Networking and the programmable network.  At its core, SDN involves opening up network interfaces in order to make the network programmable and allow for the development of applications.  While some of those applications interact directly with the data plane, determining how individual packets are treated, many applications actually involve what can fundamentally be described as management functionality – automation of workflows, reaction to events, closing of control loops.   A popular example concerns orchestration, in which resources are allocated and state modified so that collectively a service is provided – in many ways resembling a reincarnation of service provisioning in a new context and under a new name.

Of course, management applications and management interfaces have been around for a long time, so what is really new and different this time?  Is SDN simply an exciting new label for a tired old concept? Does SDN obviate the need for traditional management? At the core of these questions are the concepts of programmability and manageabilityRead More »

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