Monday, October 20, 2014

With A Little Help From My Friends [feedly]

With A Little Help From My Friends
// OpenDaylight blogs

OpenDaylight Developer Design Forum

I am here at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress in Dusseldorf Germany this week where OpenDaylight (ODL) ran a mini-summit. I was blown away by the level of interest and enthusiasm for ODL from the community, as our room was packed with over 150 people participating. Two weeks ago I had the pleasure to host over 200 developers in Santa Clara for our Developer Design Forum where developers from all across the industry got together to chart the course of SDN's evolution. I will soon be celebrating my one year mark as executive director of OpenDaylight and I must say I am so pleasantly surprised by how things have evolved since I've joined.

OpenDaylight has come a long way this year. Back in January many people did not believe that our first release, Hydrogen, would get out the door. It did, but then people thought it would fall apart. It didn't. Hydrogen was proof that we could get people to collaborate across company lines and produce real code. Hydrogen allowed your bosses to make the decision that OpenDaylight was strategic and important. Some went all in on ODL, some upgraded membership, some added new resources to work on the project. With Hydrogen, people got off the fence and starting taking ODL more seriously.

With the community's second release, Helium, made available in September, vendors are now coming out with distributions and products. Brocade announced their controller based on OpenDaylight along with several others, with more to come. Helium is an important inflection point for us. The developers have taken the steps to identify all the block-and-tackle stuff that people will need when they use it. We're going to see 1.0 versions start entering the market. But no first release is perfect. No second release is perfect. Yet across the board you can see that we've doubled all our metrics: the number of projects, number of developers in the community, number of members, lines of code. HP significantly increased their investment in ODL, upgrading its membership to Platinum, and committing more developer resources to the project. With their strong contribution to OpenStack and recent investments in the OPNFV project, I think HP could emerge as a key leader in ODL and in the broader open source industry. Equally exciting, Dell has announced a similar move, committing to invest significant resources in the project and making ODL a key pillar of their open networking strategy. I am really excited to welcome Subi Krishnamurthy to our board of directors who brings great experience and leadership to the group. 

We're going to continue to see a ton of growth in the project over the next year. OpenDaylight exists because there hasn't been clear industry consensus on a platform for SDN and NFV. We are successful as a project to the extent that we are relevant to the industry - because we are the industry's best chance at uniting such a platform. We are already tackling the biggest debates in the industry and bringing them into discussions within the community. Network virtualization is a critical early use case for SDN, but the "how and when" are still discussions being debated. Policy will be a huge part of ODL but it's bigger than just networking and can't be driven by a single vendor's interests. Policy holds huge promise and the OpenDaylight community has code for this now, but we are nowhere near done. There are lots of opinions about what's important and we'll continue to debate that into 2015. If we continue down this path, OpenDaylight is going to be at the core of what we all build.

With Helium, we are turning a corner. It's time to think about engagement with end users. It was great to see end users actively participating in our recent Developer Design Forum. Architects and operators of networks bring a set of different perspectives to the table and challenge us to really take into account the full set of challenges they face. We're working on the formation of an advisory group. Users are indeed picking up ODL and using it in POCs, and I'm even starting to hear of a few focused production deployments. You'll see those stories start to come out in 2015. But how do we do all that while growing and maintaining the integrity of the community?

All the developers who gathered in Santa Clara and for our Dusseldorf Hackfest are passionate and know how to tackle the networking challenges, but we all have to work very hard at staying open to ideas. And open to the possibility that your approach could be wrong. Too often people or companies won't engage out of fear of conflicting objectives, or they view disagreement as was a war they must win. So how do we unite? Often it starts by the community making the effort to turn their badges around. We become more diverse. We carry these ideals with us always as we work together on the next release and beyond.

I have been encouraging the community to really engage on tackling their disagreements head on, sharing their views and demonstrating their beliefs via code. I also continue to urge people not to bring single company projects but to consider joining an existing project or collaborating with others to build technologies that many will build on top of. We need to continue to cultivate greater diversity in our projects, especially on the controller side. I've been thrilled to see Brocade engineers engage deeply on the Model Driven Service Abstraction Layer (MD-SAL). We need more of this. I challenged the Technical Steering Committee to really explore the question of how and when to move projects from incubation to mature and core - to really define what are the bars, expectations and responsibilities of a core or mature project. More generally, things like quality, documentation and testing are inherently difficult, but are critical as more and more users begin to rely on our technology. Quality and testing is everyone's job. We don't have a "quality department." It's up to all of us.

I am incredibly encouraged, proud and feel fortunate to serve as the executive director of OpenDaylight. This community has the right people and we're attracting some amazing new talent. We have daunting challenges ahead of us, but they're exciting challenges so bring them on. We're in it together.


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