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SDN Stewards ONF and ON.Lab Merge

The two non-profit organizations most associated with evangelizing the young software-defined networking (SDN) movement and developing tools and projects for the technology are merging.

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and Open Networking Lab (ON.Lab) this week announced they will join and continue their respective missions as one organization, keeping the ONF name but headed by the leader of ON.Lab, Guru Parulkar.

As the deal won't be finalized until late next year, the organizations are moving forward with their separate efforts, but with tighter affiliation.

"We are taking a bold step to shape the future of networking by bringing standards and open source efforts under a single umbrella, we are building real synergy between the two organizations -- allowing open source development and deployment to guide standards development," a joint FAQ said. "The affiliation between ONF and ON.Lab will chart the next phase of SDN, helping owners and operators of large networks to adopt SDN and thus reduce their capital and operational costs and assist them in more easily creating and deploying new services."

Founded in 2011 when the SDN movement was just starting to make waves, the ONF describes itself as "a user-driven organization dedicated to the promotion and adoption of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) through open standards development."

Much of that mission was devoted to stewarding the open source OpenFlow standard, a pioneering effort that provides a protocol for communication between network controllers and the switches and routers on the forwarding plane of a network.

ON.Lab, meanwhile, founded a year later, got more into the nuts and bolts development of the emerging SDN ecosystem, building tools and platforms to further the cause while educating the public about SDN benefits and providing "thought leadership" for the technology approach.

Its two primary project are the Open Network Operating System (ONOS) and Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter (CORD). The former is described as an "OS for service providers that has scalability, high availability, high performance and abstractions to make it easy to create apps and services," while the latter "combines [network functions virtualization] NFV, SDN and the elasticity of commodity clouds to bring datacenter economics and cloud agility to the Telco Central Office."

Work on those projects will continue apace as the reorganization proceeds.

"OpenFlow and open source projects ONOS and CORD will be the focus of the organization," the FAQ said. "A roadmap for OpenFlow will be released in Q1 of 2017 with further details on the growth plans for the standard. Updates on the CORD and ONOS, including roadmap, events, working groups and governance updates, can be found on the CORD wiki Web site and ONOS wiki Web site."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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