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The Linux Foundation’s Collaboration – OpenDaylight Project – Open Source SDN

Open Daylight ProjectToday the Linux Foundation announced their newest collaborative project, the Open Daylight Project. “Daylight” is an open source project formed by industry leaders and others under the Linux Foundation with the mutual goal of furthering the adoption and innovation of Software Defined Networking (SDN) through the creation of a common vendor supported framework. OpenDaylight unites technology industry leaders to establish the largest SDN open source project to date, with the goal of a common and open SDN platform for developers to utilize, contribute to and build commercial products and technologies upon. The OpenDaylight Project is committed to furthering adoption of SDN as well as accelerating innovation on top of the platform in new and differentiated ways in a vendor-neutral and open environment where anyone can participate based on the merit of their contributions.

I had the opportunity to participate in the Open Daylight planning and  project development and I have to say I have never seen such a large group of companies move so quickly as they did for this initiative. Given that the project overlaps with many of their existing catalogues you wouldn’t think that there would be so much desire to collaborate but there really was, which sets the stage for a great project.  Given the quality fo the participants I am reasonably sure that Open Daylight will provide industry wide consequences for cloud networking allowing the same agility we see in storage and computing to be present in networking. I am anxious now that Daylight is out of the bag that we can start seeing the user community commingle their context with our code, the hallmark of open source development.

For those not familiar the scope of the Linux Foundation is growing. Linux Foundation now hosts Collaborative Projects which are independently funded software projects facilitate collaborative development across industries and ecosystems. By spreading the collaborative DNA of the largest collaborative software development project in history, The Linux Foundation provides the essential collaborative and organizational framework so project hosts can focus on innovation and results.

The founding members of the Daylight project include some of the industries biggest IT players each at different levels of support.

  • Platinum: Big Switch, Brocade, Cisco, Citrix, IBM, Juniper, Microsoft, Red Hat
  • Gold : NEC, VMware
  • Silver: Arista Networks, Dell, Fujitsu, Nuage Networks, Plumgrid

Project Daylight Founders

The first code from the OpenDaylight Project is expected to be released in 3Q13 and expected donations and projects include an open controller, a virtual overlay network, protocol plug-ins and switch device enhancements. A variety of companies and organizations are already proposing contributions or considering open sourcing key technologies that will be reviewed by the OpenDaylight Technical Steering Committee (TSC) for possible inclusion in the project. Here’s an overview of the architecture of Open Daylight, which will be a pluggable controller platform that provides a north bound API (Open Daylight’s RESTful API) and a Southbound Service Abstraction Layer (SAL).

Daylight Project Architecture

Overview of the Daylight Project Architecture.

The thing that is exciting is that virtually every major networking player is planning on providing their input and technology to drive a very robust open networking platform. The following list is but a few of the contributions:

  • Cisco has contributed controller technology to the Project including an Application Framework and Service Abstraction Layer (SAL). This provides basic controller functionality with support for southbound plug-ins to communicate with network devices using various protocols including OpenFlow, the ability to integrate controller applications as modules, and a set of REST APIs that expose the controller capabilities.
  • Citrix has contributed an application controller that integrates Layer 4-7 network services for enabling application awareness and comprehensive control into the OpenDaylight Project. This will help simplify network administration by enabling a prescriptive, app-driven approach for defining networking policy and topology and automating network configuration. Citrix has also committed to contributing a plug-in for OpenDaylight into the Apache CloudStack project.
  • IBM intends to submit an open source version of its Distributed Overlay Virtual Ethernet (DOVE) technology(presentation by IBM fellow Renatio Recio last year on DOVE) as its initial contribution. DOVE is designed to work on top of existing network infrastructures to help simplify the process of setting up, managing and scaling virtual networks for faster and more flexible delivery of cloud, analytics, mobile and social business services.
  • NEC intends to propose its Virtual Tenant Networking (VTN) model and application in Q2 of 2013, which enables users to create and manage multi-tenant virtual networks.
  • It’s also very exciting to see Red Hat add their open source credibility and participate in the OpenDaylight Project community to build and deliver an SDN solution integrated with OpenStack, Linux and KVM.

There are so many contributions beyond that, too many to list but Alacatel’s Nauge Networks, Arista, Brocade, Ericsson, and Jupiter are signed up as well.

Here’s a little video on Project Daylight produced by some of the Project Daylight marketing team explaining the philosophy and genesis of Open daylight .

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More Stories By Mark R. Hinkle

Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Soure Solutions at Citrix. He also is along-time open source expert and advocate. He is a co-founder of both the Open Source Management Consortium and the Desktop Linux Consortium. He has served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxWorld Magazine and Enterprise Open Source Magazine. Hinkle is also the author of the book, "Windows to Linux Business Desktop Migration" (Thomson, 2006). His blog on open source, technology, and new media can be found at

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