Cisco, IBM, Juniper and others will work on the OpenDaylight Project to accelerate software-defined networking

Networking leaders team to make SDN platform

Some of the biggest names in network computing have banded together to boost software-defined networking.

They’re working on the OpenDaylight Project, which hopes to create the largest SDN open source project on an open platform for developers to build commercial products.

Announced Monday, the group includes Big Switch Networks, Brocade Communications Systems, Cisco Systems Inc., Citrix, Ericsson, IBM Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Juniper Networks, Microsoft Corp., NEC, Red Hat and VMware. They have promised to donate software and engineering resources for the open source framework and help to define the future of an open SDN platform.

The effort is being hosted by theLinux Foundation.

“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,” Jim Zemlin, the foundation’s executive director, said 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.”

The goal of software-defined networking is to automate many of the process in running a network. Broadly speaking, it will allow network components to be provisioned automatically through a set of policies.
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Almost every hardware and software company with a product that touches the network has announced an SDN product or strategy in the past year. However SDN still is in its infancy in part because vendors are taking different approaches. OpenDaylight may accelerate the commercialization of SDN by somewhat limiting those differences and allowing the interoperability of equipment.

Carriers, service providers and research networks are among those expected to first put the approach into use before enterprises take it on.

In announcing OpenDaylight, backers said SDN solutions can help improve network performance and management, lower costs and increase efficiencies by delivering new cloud, big data, social business and mobile services.

The OpenDaylight platform, it is hoped, will expand the intelligence of network infrastructure to make it more responsive to overall IT and service provider demands.

The platform will support open standards such as the OpenFlow communications protocol, which controls network packets.

However, the platform won’t be seen for months, with the first code is expected to be released in the third quarter.

Expected donations and projects from participating vendors include an open controller, a virtual overlay network, protocol plug-ins and switch device enhancements.

For example, in the news release Cisco said it has contributed controller technology to the project including an application framework and service abstraction layer (SAL). IBM said it will submit an open source version of its Distributed Overlay Virtual Ethernet (DOVE) technology DOVE is designed to work on top of existing network infrastructures to help simplify the process of setting up, managing and scaling virtual networks, it said.

Juniper Networks has proposed contributing a number of technical elements including XMPP client and server protocol code and a flexible data model. Citrix said it is contributing an application controller that integrates Layer 4-7 network services for enabling application awareness and comprehensive control. It will also give a plug-in for OpenDaylight into the Apache CloudStack project.
 
For more on this, see stories in Network World U.S. and InfoWorld.
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