OpenDaylight: The Start of Something Big for SDN
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.
Today, of course! 🙂 Well, at least the announcement anyway. Things are moving along at a brisk clip–the member companies have already started working on integrating code and we have hackfests and the like planned. While the developers will be getting fired up right away, we expect something end users can use in Q3 of this year.
One of the biggest challenges any emerging market faces is fragmentation. When a market fragments, end users tend to sit on their hands until things settle down since no one wants have to explain to their boss why they ended up in an technical dead end (think HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray). The vendor side of things is also less than fun. My CCIE lab in 1994 was a mirror of what the typical customer was dealing with Ethernet and Token Ring and Novell and AppleTalk and technological gems like RSRB and translational bridging to try and glue everything together–there was a lot of overlapping functionality and a lot of wasted energy on both sides of the table that created very little actual value for anyone. When the market finally coalesced around Ethernet and IP, it made life simpler for everyone and all that wasted effort was able to be put to use creating useful stuff. A modern day analog might be the web browser market, where developers’ lives are complicated by the multiple browsers in use and I have to keep multiple browsers on my laptop because not all websites work properly with Safari.
With OpenDaylight, we have created an industry-supported framework that should help the SDN market accelerate. The Project mitigates much of the risk for customers around SDN adoption; meanwhile, for developers, there is a common industry-backed framework which can simplify their lives. Our hope is for things to progress well beyond this with the emergence of an a rich ecosystem that delivers commercial offerings, tools, services and support.
OpenDaylight is an organic extension of a couple of things–Cisco ONE and the expanding role of Open Source in our corporate software strategy. We have a significant commitment to OpenStack with Lew Tucker and his team, including the work on the Quantum API and things like the investment in Piston Cloud. Similarly, we have upcoming support for Xen and KVM open source hypervisors for the Nexus 1000V. OpenDaylight becomes another element in that strategy. And, as you might expect, OpenDaylight joins our forthcoming commercial controller as another member of the Cisco ONE portfolio available for those customers that have an Open Source strategy.
Speaking of that, Cisco’s actual contribution to the the Project is a good chunk of our controller code. Cisco has contributed the code for the controller Service Abstraction Layer (SAL) and the Application Framework. This provides the basic controller functionality as well as the plug-in architecture to support southbound protocols like OpenFlow and northbound APIs like REST. Be sure to check out the Linux Foundation Press Release to see what other members are contributing to the Project.
I think we have gotten quite a bit accomplished in a few short weeks, but things are only just getting started. There will be many more details forthcoming, but for now I would start with the press release, spend some time on the OpenDaylight website, check out this post by David Ward and follow @OpenDaylightSDN.