OpenDaylight, Two Years In
// OpenDaylight blogs
As we move into April we approach the two-year birthday of OpenDaylight. It has been amazing to see how developers and users around the globe have really embraced our vision of creating one common, open platform for SDN and NFV that can be leveraged by all. What we've been able to achieve through open collaboration in such a short amount of time is incredible. NFV is becoming real. I see more and more SDN Proofs-of-Concepts cropping up every day. Real solutions are being built on top of OpenDaylight.
Everywhere I turn I see participation and contributions pouring in from a range of individuals and organizations around the globe. Our community is comprised of those who are obsessively curious about how to solve real networking problems. OpenDaylight ambassadors, our newly formed Advisory Group, 20 OpenDaylight User Groups worldwide representing over 1,000 people--all of their contributions are important and necessary. We can only succeed with participation from this broad range of actors. The greater diversity we have in our community, the stronger we are.
In the past two years we have collectively convinced the industry that our vision was not only achievable in theory but that we're well on our way. I have often said there are three components to a successful open source project: Community, Code and Acceptance. On Community: The fact that over a thousand people around the world are regularly meeting together via ODLUGs is a testament that we've been able to build the largest, broadest and most motivated open community in the history of the networking industry!
Next is Code: The Hydrogen and Helium releases represented key achievements for us. Each release demonstrated to the industry that it was possible for a diverse set of developers to come together and deliver a codebase that could solve key end user challenges and be broadly leveraged by the industry. While there remains much work to do to fully deliver on our mission, I keep hearing how impressed people are that we built such a broad capable codebase in such little time. It is exciting to see the number of commercial products being built leveraging the ODL codebase, but even more that ODL-based solutions are solving real problems. Every day I seem to read about another organization leveraging ODL from telcos (e.g. Chunghwa Telecom or Telstra) to universities (e.g. Cornell or University of Luxembourg) or even a city (e.g. Bristol, England).
Back to Code: The development and growing consensus of our technical community around a YANG model-based abstraction layer has been a critical achievement, providing in essence a message bus to link the full set of hardware/southbounds that end users may have in their environment with the wide range of network applications that are being created. Policy represents the next major technical challenge for our community. Policy is the key to automating the now-abstracted network by capturing the information necessary to automatically make configuration and prioritization decisions. I am excited to the see the Group-Based Policy, Network Intent and OpenStack Congress communities working together to solve this challenging problem. No single group can impose its policy model on the industry, but collaboratively we can drive a common framework, data-model and architecture that can serve as a platform for the industry. Members of all three groups will be presenting at this year's OpenDaylight Summit, often on stage together, and working together at the ODL Design Summit to bring their ideas to fruition in the code.
While we continue to invest in Community and Code, this year we're adding focus to the third element - user Acceptance. Our community must solve real world problems for end users and deliver the agility and automation of the network that our industry so sorely needs. While in the first two years we needed to focus on growing the community of developers and delivering a code base, in 2015 we need to extend the community to the universe of end users. We have already seen sophisticated end users joining our summits, hackfests and meetups and we need to continue to engage deeply with them.
I recently launched our end user-focused OpenDaylight Advisory Group, which is a diverse group of the top thinkers, engineers and architects at leading financial, enterprise, telecom and cloud service providers. This group is already engaging with our technical community to provide guidance on roadmap, feature prioritization and use case development. We will continue to invest as a community in efforts to facilitate the exchange of ideas and experiences across the two groups (developers and end users). Members like AT&T's Margaret Chiosi will be presenting their experiences and deployment plans with the broad community at this summer's OD Summit. We are also engaging more deeply with groups such as the Open Networking Foundation that already provide rich forums for debate and consensus-building in the industry. I have been presenting side-by-side with the ONF's Dan Pitt around the world - most recently in India and coming up in Israel - as we work together to advance the understanding and acceptance of SDN.
My ask for each of you is to find a way to participate in this bridging of the two worlds. If you are a developer, actively seek out end users in your community. We are seeing more and more users download ODL, engage with our members and come to our events. As a developer, when you attend meet-ups and hackfests I would like to suggest you actively seek to understand the infrastructures, challenges and needs of the users who attend. Invite other users to attend these events so the entire community can benefit. If you are an actual or potential end user, I suggest you don't simply evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the current code base but engage constructively with the developer community to help them build out and improve it so it better solves your needs.
I am so impressed by the vibrancy of our community and how much we've achieved in such a short time. I have high hopes and expectations for 2015. It's heartening to see that together we are changing the networking industry.
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