Open Source Champion Zannos Joins Inocybe

John Zannos, a prominent figure in the open source world, has left Canonical and joined open networking technology company Inocybe as chief revenue officer.

Montreal-based Inocybe Technologies announced Zannos's arrival on Monday, along with the company's expansion into San Francisco, Boston and London.

Inocybe, while only 25 employees strong, has gone into growth mode, with plans to double the number of employees by next year to serve what Zannos called a "backlog of interest." (See Inocybe Hires Top Open Networking Experts.)

Inocybe is small but well known in SDN circles. Founded in 2005, the company was one of the early participants in the OpenDaylight Project, offering a distribution of the open source software. Inocybe has gathered a respected group of engineers and is trying to become more of a platform play, but the question still hanging over the team is whether they can commercialize and scale up.

"That's why I've been brought in -- to bring that business and open source experience," Zannos says. "I have a long history of building and maturing open ecosystems."

Zannos announced he was leaving Canonical, where he served as vice president of cloud, in June. The open source man has also served as the chairman of the OpenPOWER Foundation, was a board member for Open-Orchestrator Foundation (OPEN-O, now part of ONAP), OPNFV and the OpenStack Foundation and was an early participant in OSM. (See OPNFV Adds Adva, 2 Others and Freescale, KDDI R&D Labs Join OPNFV.)

Inocybe's momentum comes from customers transitioning out of experimentation and into production. But Zannos also points out the shifting landscape among vendors.

He notes that as recently as two years ago, the SDN space was teeming with companies like Brocade, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, PlumGrid, Nuage Networks (an Alcatel-Lucent subsidiary now owned by Nokia) and Contrail (acquired by Juniper) making a lot of noise. Some players have since been acquired, pivoted or faded away. PlumGrid, for example, sold its assets to VMware. And Brocade, which had plans for a comprehensive SDN architecture, is being broken up as it gets acquired by Broadcom. (The SDN controller is the seed of a spinoff called Lumina Networks, coincidentally being launched today.)

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Inocybe's Open Networking Platform is meant to help enterprises and service providers implement SDN and NFV using the OpenDaylight controller framework and other open source projects like FD.io, PNDA and ONAP. (See ODL: Open Source Hastens Software Usability and Linux Foundation Forms FD.io.)

Zannos likens it to a software-as-a-service model. The platform provides verified, production-ready versions of the software along with recipes for putting the pieces together. Inocybe provides some of those recipes; customers can also build their own and don't necessarily have to share them, Zannos says.

In the service provider world, he says the open source use cases that are attracting the most interest include SD-WAN, the Internet of Things, service chaining and traffic engineering. The enterprise verticals that are most engaged with SDN are in financial services, online gaming and online retail, he says. (See Avaya, Inocybe Take Giant Stride in IoT Scaling.)

The carriers' ultimate goal is to get their networks automated and intelligent, says Maddison Long, Inocybe's vice president of marketing. What's available on the platform today today are OpenDaylight, FD.io and PNDA, but Long says Inocybe plans to bring other open source projects into the fold and is taking direction from its customer base on what those priorities will be. (See NFV, SDN, Big Data – It's All About Automation.)

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