The Linux Foundation unifies Software-Defined Networking powers

The Linux Foundation unifies Software-Defined Networking powers

Summary: What could bring Red Hat, Cisco, VMware, and Microsoft together in one cause? Would you believe The Linux Foundation and Software-Defined Networking? Believe it.


Recently, I argued that while there's been a lot of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) hype, it's also real and will redefine corporate networking in the coming years. The Linux Foundation agrees and — in its OpenDaylight Project — has introduced a community-led and industry-supported open-source framework to accelerate  SDN adoption, foster new innovation, and give it a more open and transparent approach.

The Linux Foundation has brought together essentially all the SDN powers to work on a common, open-source framework. (Image: Linux Foundation)

That sounds nice, but without industry backing, it doesn't mean much.

OpenDaylight has the support it needs to transform SDN. Big Switch Networks, Brocade, Cisco, Citrix, Ericsson, IBM, Juniper Networks, Microsoft, NEC, Red Hat, and VMware are all founding Platinum and Gold members of the project. It will donate software and engineering resources for this open source framework, and help to define the future of an open SDN platform. Yes, that's right: Cisco and Juniper, Microsoft and Red Hat, and other major industry rivals are all joining forces.

Specifically, OpenDaylight will be supporting already existing open standards such as OpenFlow. The project's goal is to deliver a common open-source framework and platform for SDN across the industry for customers, partners, and developers. The customer win: A single, multi-vendor and open-source SDN platform.

The first code from the OpenDaylight Project should be released in 3Q13; expected donations and projects include an open controller, a virtual overlay network, protocol plugins, and switch device enhancements. What makes it in will be determined by the OpenDaylight Technical Steering Committee (TSC).

"This is a rare gathering of leaders in the technology ecosystem who have decided to combine efforts in a common platform in order to innovate faster and build better products for their customers," said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation in a statement. "The world has learned that collaborative development can quickly drive software innovation, especially in fast moving markets. We are excited to be working with OpenDaylight and expect truly amazing things to come."

At this point, we know that Big Switch Networks is planning to contribute open-source elements of its Open SDN Suite to the OpenDaylight Project. This will include controller code, advanced data store with high availability, distributed virtual routing service applications, network virtualization, network overlays, and other applications.

Cisco has contributed controller technology including an Application Framework and Service Abstraction Layer (SAL). This provides basic controller functionality with support for southbound plug-ins to communicate with network devices using various protocols including OpenFlow, the ability to integrate controller applications as modules, and a set of REST APIs (Representational State Transfer Application Programming Interface) to expose the controller capabilities.

Cisco's arch-rival Juniper Networks is planning to contribute a number of technical elements including Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) client and server protocol code and a flexible data model.

For its part, Citrix is  contributing an application controller that integrates Layer 4-7 network services into OpenDaylight Project. Citrix has also committed to contributing a plug-in for OpenDaylight into the Apache CloudStack project.

IBM intends to submit an open-source version of its Distributed Overlay Virtual Ethernet [PDF link] technology as its initial contribution. According to IBM, DOVE is designed to work on top of existing network infrastructures to help simplify the process of setting up, managing and scaling virtual networks for faster and more flexible delivery of cloud, analytics, mobile and social business services.

Red Hat will be working on building and delivering an SDN solution that integrates with OpenStack and Linux's built-in Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor.

Microsoft hasn't spelled out what it plans to contribute to the project yet. In a statement, Brad Anderson, Microsoft's Corporate VP for Windows Server and System Center, said, "Microsoft is pleased to be a member of the OpenDaylight Project and to work with industry leaders to create a common framework and platform for SDN. The OpenDaylight Project aligns with Microsoft’s commitment to open standards-based development and enables the industry to benefit from Microsoft’s deep experience running global, large-scale data-centers and delivering flexible, elastic cloud-scale services."

All the OpenDaylight code will be operating-system independent and is expected to be available on multiple platforms. It will be licensed under the Eclipse Public License (EPL). This is an Open Source Initiative approved license.

These companies are taking on a monster of a job. The problem isn't so much the standards or the code, it's getting everyone on the same page. The mere fact that The Linux Foundation has brought together essentially all the major players in the SDN space and has gotten them to agree to work on a common, open framework is remarkable in its own right. If they're successful in actually creating the OpenDaylight framework, SDN will be one giant step closer to becoming the new datacenter and corporate networking standard.

Related stories

Topics: Networking, Cisco, Cloud, Data Centers, IBM, Microsoft, Open Source, Software Development, Enterprise 2.0

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  • MS plans to patent as soon as they hear anything...

    Since they would then get "first to file", they would get to sue everybody else... :)
    • Do they have a history of that?

      I remember Rambus did that in the late 1990's, but I don't recall any examples of Microsoft doing that.
      Michael Kelly
      • It just the logical follow-on

        to what they have done.
        • Actually, MS will come up with its own, MS-implementation...

          ... which will incorporate its own, MS-only extension -- which may be (or possibly not be) technically compliant with the standard, but *somehow* won't play nice with any of the other participants' standard-compliant implementations.

          And then they'll blandly respond to criticisms with denials that it's their fault, because they just followed the official specs...
          • Do all linux enthusiasts on zdnet

            Think like you? Come on... Microsoft will do its Microsoft things and have a specific group of people from Microsoft who will team up with all the others.

            Microsoft once was the big bad guy alright how terrible is that... It didn't even change a single thing in our lives except that with Microsoft on hold for a while we saw some competitor emerge and it balanced the industry. Now what? How long are we going to cry about it? Can't we just love Linux and enjoy any kind of development from any company or group of companies? I mean... It's Tech... We all love it... Why should we limit ourselves to one company, one OS, one, one. Microsoft is pretty open if you think about it.. Sure not as much as Linux, but it's way ahead of OS X. Still OS X has it's charm and runs smoothly. Windows 8 is good, OS X is good, I love Linux what ever the skin you put on it(except one) and I just can't understand why someone would waste time complaining about one or another.

            but if I had to put in order which OS I prefer based on personal tastes.
            Linux it is open and I can do anything with it. I don't feel limited in any way.
            Windows 8 I simply have a thing for metro, I'd like it to take off. It's also full of
            OS X I just can't hate it. It simply work. Its frustrating to be limited, but you don't worry that much for malwares on a Mac.
            Windows 7 It was the best option at the time.
            Windows XP that one is a warrior who refuses to let go. How many OS can expect to have over 30% market share after such a long run?
            ChromeOS god.. I know it's Linux somewhere, but god....
            Throw All The Things
          • windows 8

            Is also full of nice additions.* but the fact that I forgot to follow on after "full of" is so hilarious. Oh well... That was my 2¢.
            Throw All The Things
          • I guess you haven't been paying attention

            because quite simply, MS hasn't changed it's ways.

            For just one particularly _nasty_ and utterly _blatant_ example, there was the farce around ODF (which got really ugly at times), and bludgeoning the MS-OOXML "standard" through the ISO.

            The more recent UEFI Secure Boot / MS Restricted Boot circus was pretty subtle, by comparison. But the Browser Selection "goof" wasn't.

            MS's monopoly power might be slipping somewhat -- but they still have plenty, and they still don't hesitate to abuse it however they think they can get away with it.
          • Did your mother speak English when you were born?

            Somehow, I don't think so ... but we get the picture anyway ;-)
  • Oh well...

    "What could bring Red Hat, Cisco, VMware, and Microsoft together in one cause? Would you believe The Linux Foundation and Software-Defined Networking? Believe it."

    SJVN, Once you stop spreading FUD about Microsoft, we will believe you... until then the mud-throwing continues :-)
    • Owllll1net....your just plain hopeless

      End of story.
      Over and Out
    • Throwing Mud

      And once you stop 'spreading FUD about..., we will believe you' too.
  • Amazing

    Well, I have give credit where credit is due. I think this is one of the most, if not the most, objective articles you have ever written that involves Microsoft.

    Maybe, just maybe this is a trend, and you will think through your future MS related articles a bit more before slamming MS in general. (And yes, there are times where that is due).
    • What are you talking about?

      everything this man said has turned out to be truth so he should give it up and from now on spread lies about glory of MS so fan boys could rejoice?!
    • What are you talking about?

      everything this man said has turned out to be truth so he should give it up and from now on spread lies about glory of MS so fan boys could rejoice?!
  • Microsoft Will Contribute Drive Letters For Networking

    Drive letters have worked so well for identifying filesystems on DOS/Windows for decades, why not use them to identify networks as well? Imagine a "Windows For Router" OS that interconnects, say, your C: network and your D: network (A: and B: being unusable for historical reasons); lots of applications assume they will only run on the C: network, but thanks to the wonders of Microsoft innovation, you can make the D: network transparently look like part of the C: network, to get around that limitation.
    • nice

      Funny and witty, best comment on this thread.
      Your prediction might be correct.
  • HP OpenFlow is already Open API!

    So "OpenDaylight" will be supporting OpenFlow standards but HP the SDN power is not part of the "Networking Powers"? HP already has 28 enterprise switches that are OpenFlow capable representing the largest portfolio built on Open API's.

    Great, getting Cisco to agree to anything that is not proprietary will be interesting to watch not to mention how it will try and convince us that we will still need to buy their over priced ports.
  • The Linux Foundation unifies Software-Defined Networking powers

    The linux fraudation just created the network router and switch. Once again linux steals others ideas.
  • Re: Microsoft hasn't spelled out what it plans to contribute to the project

    This says it all.