The India Digital Open Summit hosted today by Reliance Jio in Partnership with the Linux Foundation and supported by Cisco, kicks off a week of Open Source Networking Days (OSN Days) in India. OSN Days have already garnered a lot of excitement around the globe, reflecting the ever-increasing importance of open source software for all aspects of networking – from flexible, high-speed data planes via orchestration, and analytics solutions to evolving business architectures and processes.
Over the past couple of years, open source initiatives have evolved from being solely software components integrated into a variety of best-of-breed open source projects, to larger architectures providing immediate business benefits to the user. Today, several open source projects perform systems integration as an open community effort – defining the architectures, creating the glue code, and bringing the concepts of CI/CD to the networking world. ONAP, OPNFV, and PNDA are examples of projects which deliver platforms integrated from multiple upstream components. As an industry, we understand that siloed, vertically integrated, proprietary solution stacks are both hard to adapt to rapidly changing needs and expensive to maintain. Creating base-level infrastructure based on a commonly agreed architecture is the way forward. It allows all of us to share what our solutions have in common without ’re-creating the wheel’.
What started as “software defined networking” evolved into an effort to create a new architecture and software stack for networking solutions – as open source. What we had to invent as an industry, was no less than reactive compute, network, storage and security – integrated into a modular, composable architecture.
Let’s pick the current move to high-performance and high-scale, cloud-native networking as an example. Kubernetes/Istio makes container workloads easy to manage, operate and network. The universal high-performance data plane provided by FD.io/VPP makes inter-container communications very fast and scalable. The logical conclusion and next step is to integrate Kubernetes/Istio and FD.io/VPP. The Contiv-VPP project provides for this integration. Evolving your stack to enable cloud-native networking functions will naturally lead you to project Ligato. PNDA and SNAS could complement your stack with analytics capabilities.
All of this gives you an amazing cloud-native solution stack on which you can build your own, differentiated cloud-native services and network functions.
The aspects of rapid innovation fueled by CI/CD-driven development methodologies, along with defining architecture by the means of code, is now recognized as best practice throughout the networking industry. Development teams adopt open source tool chains and business processes. Industry leaders adopt system level architectures defined in open source. They flexibly combine open-source and commercial components to create customized, yet industry standards-driven solutions. The open source networking stack is now the standard common base (much like Linux is the base for any OS running on network devices). Commercial additions are the elements that differentiate vendors’ solutions. The open source engagement model, where everyone is free to participate, has proven to drive rapid innovation while ensuring a high level of security. There are just far more eyes on the code than in any proprietary setup – as long as you’ve chosen a solution from an active and vibrant community. By being active in a vibrant community, every line of code you commit, every wiki page you change, and every ticket you create adds an entry to your virtual CV. Transparency rules.
I’m thrilled to see such a diverse set of technology and business leaders joining forces at the India Digital Open Summit, recognizing the important role of open source and furthering its adoption – via process, mindset, or code. If you haven’t started your personal open source journey, now is a good time to start.