Service providers and datacenter operators are being flooded by vendor-specific solutions to their virtual networking challenges, and that is only increasing their need for a standards-based open solution, the newly appointed director of the OpenDaylight Project said this week. (See OpenDaylight Names Exec Director.)
In an interview with Light Reading, former VMWare executive Nicolas "Neela" Jacques says server virtualization can easily deliver virtualized compute power today, but virtualized storage and particularly virtualized networking remain challenges for enabling a truly virtualized datacenter. That is where OpenDaylight , a collaborative open source project launched by the Linux Foundation , expects to be able to advance the cause of software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV), with significant results as early as next year.
"Every vendor seems to have some solution called a virtual network, not unlike the way everyone was talking about cloud four to five years ago," Jacques says. "The problem I heard over and over again -- yes, there are solutions out there, in fact there are too many solutions. I need something that works with everything else, because no one vendor can do everything."
Jacques' comments come during a period in which major networking vendors are, in fact, stepping up to the virtual networking challenge, both in ways some describe as "open" and others frankly do not. (See Cisco's ACI Gets Physical With SDN, Juniper Unveils Datacenter MetaFabric, and Arista Announces Datacenter Switches.)
Because these networking players and others are part of OpenDaylight, which has already delivered SDN architecture details and will have a new release in December for SDN and possibly NFV, Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin argues the open source effort is already tackling the issue of too many separate approaches to virtualization. That effort will bear fruit later this year, but much more significantly next year, he says.
With the backing of non-traditional networking companies such as Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), the academic community and telecom giants such as Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), as well as the networking biggies, OpenDaylight has the critical mass needed to create an industry-wide solution that trumps anything a single entity can do. Ultimately, Zemlin says, the open source approach is "not only something their customers are requesting, but a better cheaper way to create this new infrastructure."
What OpenDaylight is promising is not just a way of delivering pieces of SDN, such as the SDN controller, but "an open source SDN platform that everybody can plug into," based on a common standard that is delivered as code that can be used immediately, Jacques says.
"That's a big difference -- OpenDaylight is shipping code, and service providers can take this code and install it within their environment and get immediate results," Jacques says.
Vendors can also use it to bring what they have in line with industry standards, or they can use it, change the source code to improve it and share those changes, as part of the open-source collaboration process.
OpenDaylight is also tackling NFV, working to put into open source code the output of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) -based Industry Specification Group (ISG) that is working on NFV specifications.
Zemlin says the two groups have communicated, but that there's no need for direct liaison activity, as OpenDaylight is able to take the public documents out of the ISG and work with those.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading