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Open Networking foundation (ONF) Executive Director on the group's achievements, goals

John Dix | Sept. 16, 2014
Dan Pitt explains where the standards stand.

OpenDaylight is a Linux Foundation Collaborative project that is building an Open Source SDN controller.  To find out how the effort is going Network World Editor in Chief John Dix caught up with Neela Jacques, who joined the OpenDaylight project last November as Executive Director.

Where does OpenDaylight stand today?
When I was considering taking this job people gave me all these reasons why OpenDaylight couldn't succeed.  And I think to a large extent that's been proven wrong.  It's not that the challenges aren't there.  It's that with enough smart people working really hard to overcome them, they can be overcome. 

Let me start by describing the elephant in the room.  There have been a lot of questions about the project's governance, and specifically around Cisco's involvement.  You could consider them one of the two co-founders of the project, the other being IBM, which actually drove the creation of the group.  But Cisco is the leading vendor in the industry and, because they haven't been very involved in open source in the past, there are naturally questions around their involvement. "Who would collaborate with Cisco?  They'll dominate every build, and everything is going to go Cisco's way." 

What I think surprised a lot of people is we've had very mature governance. What you've seen is a community that is growing, that is diversifying, that is really moving in the right direction.  Cisco's role is still relatively large, but pretty much every month more people are joining, more projects are coming into the larger project. 

So I think we represent hope in the industry, that the industry can change, both technically as well as in terms of how the members work with each other. A lot of people would like to see OpenDaylight succeed, but there is recognition of how challenging that is, so there is healthy skepticism. 

OpenDaylight just recently issued the so called Hydrogen release of code. Bring us up to date.
The vast majority of people downloading the code are developers.  In fact, if you look at how OpenDaylight is going to be consumed, we are first and foremost building a code-base that will act as a platform on which other people will build their solution. While you will see some people download and use OpenDaylight in Test/Dev and eventually in production, a large percentage of the consumption of OpenDaylight will be code OEM'd within a broader solution. 

Cisco and IBM are examples of that, but so are ConteXtream and Ciena, companies that have a choice: do I reinvent the wheel and build the 31st controller in the world,  or do I pick up a piece of code that's ready for me to use and build on top of that?


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