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SDN Group Fights Proprietary Offshoots

"A trend has emerged where vendors leverage open source to build closed proprietary solutions, providing only marginal benefit to the broader ecosystem."

As inferred by its name, software-defined networking pioneer Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is all about openness.

To fulfill its mission of accelerating the adoption of SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV), the non-profit consortium champions the use of open source software, open source platforms and the disaggregation of networking devices from proprietary software control solutions.

But some industry vendors haven't been playing along, poaching open source contributions for their own proprietary offerings without giving much back to the community, the ONF said, so it's fighting back in an attempt to nip that trend in the bud.

In that regard, it just announced the new Open Innovation Pipeline, resulting from the pending merger of the ONF and the Open Networking Lab (ON.Lab).

"Now that the SDN movement, first initiated by the ONF, has successfully set in motion the disaggregation of networking devices and control software and fostered the emergence of a broad range open source platforms, the industry needs a unifying effort to build solutions out of the numerous disaggregated components," the ONF said in a news release Tuesday.

"A trend has emerged where vendors leverage open source to build closed proprietary solutions, providing only marginal benefit to the broader ecosystem," the ONF continued. "The ONF's Open Innovation Pipeline intends to counteract this trend by offering greater returns to members who participate in the ONF's collaborative process. Through making active contributions to the Open Innovation Pipeline, vendors benefit from inclusion in CORD and ONOS solutions, thereby gaining access to operator deployments."

The ONF's Open Innovation Pipeline
[Click on image for larger view.] The ONF's Open Innovation Pipeline (source: Open Networking Foundation).

The ONF said the Open Innovation Platform will provide integrated solutions to network operators that use open source platforms and "software-defined standards" in their products and services. Any member can contribute to the pipeline to include its own innovations in the integrated solutions provided to customers. Different pipeline instances will focus on specfic use cases. So far, active pipelines address ultra-broadband access, 5G mobile (from RAN to core), enterprise VPNs and packet-optical core use cases.

ONF executive director Guru Parulkar said the new Open Innovation Pipeline is a first-and-only, game-changing initiative, providing a framework that will influence how SDN and NFV technologies are deployed in networks.

"It builds on ON.Lab's advancements with CORD and ONOS, two platforms which successfully brought together operators, vendors and integrators to build solutions for carrier networks by leveraging SDN, NFV and cloud technologies via an open source approach and disaggregated network devices in the form of white boxes," Parulkar said in a blog post. "It also draws from ONF's deep relationships with the operator community."

The ONF provided more information on the Open Innovation Pipeline in a PDF titled "Accelerating the Adoption of SDN & NFV."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for 1105 Media.

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