They have a lot of southbound protocols. We're not sure the industry needs to spend that much time on those. It's better if they focus on the orchestration, automation and central policy management. So we're making sure their OpenFlow southbound protocol option is of high quality and available.
They're targeting particular use cases, which is exactly what they should be doing, but not all use cases. We're cooperating particularly with them in the architecture for the northbound interfaces.Given most organizations have loads of money invested in legacy gear, what are the incremental steps they can take to get there?That's a great question. That's why we started our migration working group about a year and a half ago (see "A Q&A with the Chair of the Open Networking Foundation's Migration Group"). And we are showing examples of how people have done it. We are building some tools and some metrics. Basically there is a combination of things. There's a way of introducing SDN software with existing infrastructure. You don't get all the benefits of SDN by any measure, but you get some, and you learn about how to couple your business priorities to some of the orchestration software.
You gradually move into a forwarding plane that is optimized for packet processing and does not have the legacy functions. And you can introduce this a network element at a time. The vendors are going to choose a variety of ways of doing this with either stand-alone devices or hybrid devices, and there will be a lot of experimentation to do that. But what you want to make sure you have is some understanding of what's happening in your network. That's why we work on configuration of management methodologies integrated into existing management methodologies.
So it's really a combination of deploying new software, coupling new management schemes and deploying new switching hardware, and then it's going to be understanding that more and more servers and switches are built on exactly the same components of Ethernet, x86 and OpenFlow.
I see that in October in Germany the ONF is going to be showcasing some SDN solutions. Will those be actual users up there speaking?
The SDN Solution Showcase will be part of the Expo area and we're putting together six or seven themes and I'm not ready to publicize those yet. But every theme we demonstrate will involve at least two vendors and one [user]. So this is different from the normal Expo where every vendor goes out by himself and shows his own stuff.
Anything else that I didn't hit on that you think the world should know about ONF and OpenFlow and where we are?
One thing that hasn't changed in the three years that we've been around is our mission to accelerate the adoption of open SDN for the benefit of users. And I can say that we're really grateful for the efforts of everyone in the industry in contributing to making this a successful movement. It's been amazingly successful so far. It has a long way to go, but the benefits are so clear to people who operate networks that there is just no turning back.
Sign up for MIS Asia eNewsletters.