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Cloud enablement

Open Compute Project Takes on Networking

LAS VEGAS -- Interop -- The Open Compute Project, which has brought open-source attitude (and results) to servers and storage, is going to tackle networking. Frank Frankovsky -- the OCP's chairman and, by day, vice president of hardware design at Facebook -- announced the OCP Networking Project at the end of his Interop keynote Wednesday morning. The group's first meeting happens next week at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and, in fine open-source fashion, everyone is welcome.

Frank Frankovsky delivers the good news at Interop. Remember: It's not really open-source
unless guys with beards are involved.
OpenDaylight has already launched as an open-source effort for software-defined networking (SDN), but this is a potentially bigger effort, as it would tackle networking in general. It's likely the project would seek ways to curb the energy usage of networks, for instance. OpenDaylight is a founding member of the OCP Networking Project, as is the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). (See OpenDaylight SDN Group Breaks Cover.) Vendors involved include Big Switch Networks, Broadcom Corp., Cumulus Networks, Facebook, Intel Corp. and Netronome -- those were the ones listed on Frankovsky's slide, anyway, with many others "coming together," he said. Exactly what this means for today's networking vendors is up to them -- at least according to Frankovsky. The OCP so far has shown the extent to which server and storage vendors underestimated the knowledge in their user base, as well as the discontent lingering within that base, he said. Vendors can consider the swelling tide to be a threat or to be a sweet wave they can ride. And there's no question the OCP is on the rise. You can see it in the numbers. The first OCP summit, in late 2011, drew about 200 people; the most recent one, held in Santa Clara, Calif., in January, drew 1,500. The OCP isn't about beating up vendors, though. The real purpose reflects the original goals of open-source: to share knowledge so that more brainpower can be applied to a problem. "The more people we can get to work on these large, complicated problems, the better," Frankovsky said. "Until you've open-sourced something, you can't get all of the best engineers in the world to work on a problem." — Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

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