Thursday, January 29, 2015

OpenDaylight Developer Spotlight: David Bainbridge [feedly]

OpenDaylight Developer Spotlight: David Bainbridge
// OpenDaylight blogs

The OpenDaylight community is comprised of leading technologists from around the globe who are working together to transform networking with open source. This blog series highlights the developers, users and researchers collaborating within OpenDaylight to build an open, common platform for SDN and NFV.

David Bainbridge

About David Bainbridge

David started working with the OpenDaylight Project a little over a year ago. He is involved with the discovery project, device identification and device management project, and the projects dealing with an intent interface. David has been working on network management solutions for over 20 years at various different companies in various states and joined Ciena Corporation in the San Jose area about the same time he got involved with the OpenDaylight Project.

What is the biggest challenge facing networking today and how will SDN  (and/or NFV) resolve it?

I think the industry is interested in being able to programmatically control their network regardless of the vendor or technology being used. Customers want to express a desire, i.e. connect A to Z with characteristics W, and have the "system" figure out how best to meet that desire given the existing and planned network state. This is the nirvana, but I think this is the problem that needs to be our focus. So often projects can get lost in the technology and lose sight of this goal.

What is the Proof of Concept (PoC) or use case that you hear most about for OpenDaylight?

Most often, I hear about optical or multi-layer scenarios. This is partially because of the business Ciena is in, but I think it is more about that customers are looking to understand how best to utilize their existing infrastructure and that is a multi-layer infrastructure with an optical component.

What do you hear most from users as a key reason they want SDN?

SDN is different things to different people. Even with universities and standard organizations defining the term, I still don't think people agree (or maybe its just me that doesn't agree and everyone else is having a good laugh behind my back). I think people want centralized programmatic control of their network using a common abstraction, regardless of the vendor or technology mix in their network. I think whatever that boils down to for a person is what that person calls SDN. In other words, I think people use SDN as a mailable term to make it mean cover what they need to improve the ability to deliver services to their customers.

What do you think will happen in 2015 for SDN?

I think we will see more definition around SDN based on practical experience. We will start to see what is expected of a controller as well as inter-controller interactions. I think the industry will also better understand where the balance lies between a "pure" solution with no control plane on the network element (NE) and a solution where some level of "enforcement" still exists on the NE. You can tell by how I stated that last bit that I lean toward a world where the NE is a bit of an enforcement point for policy in real time, where the policies themselves are centrally managed.

What is the best piece of developer advice you've ever received?

Not sure if I was ever given a piece of advice that stands out. I have learned a lot from many people. I had the benefit early on in my career of working with some very talented people. I learned a lot from them. My first "mentor" never went to college, but was a great developer and out of the box thinker. I learned early on that background and formal education is not the key to development. I learned that continually looking at problems from different angles and always being willing to cannibalize an idea is key. Just keep cracking away. There were many others I have learned from over the years and continue to learn from. I think you always have to be ready to learn from anyone regardless of your or their seniority. Some times some of the best ideas come from people who are new in industry and don't have the same biases and preconceptions that a more seasoned (read old) developer has.

I think another important thing for developers to realize, and this is more philosophical, is you are not your code. Your value as an individual has nothing to dowith the code you produce, so if someone comes and stamps all over your code (or even your idea) and the end result is better, don't take it personally. Instead learn and better yourself from the experience. That being said, if you think you have a better idea fight for it, but the end result should be about good code, not who wrote it. I have fond memories of being in a room with talented people where an unsuspecting onlooker might think we were about to break out in a hockey game. But that was just the process. At In the end the result was a better idea than either any of us had individually and we would have a beer.

What does your workspace look like?

My kitchen table. I work with many time zones, so even though I live and technically have a cube in Silicon Valley, most my time is spent at the kitchen table. I don't havean office at home. There is always a full coffee cup near by and my headset. Those two things and my laptop make my office. It has been known to migrate to a Peet's so that I can attend meetings from there as well. My cube is sparse. I have a plant I was given when Ciena moved to the building. I think it is still alive; someone must be secretly watering it.



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