The Launch of Open Networking Foundation.

We can not leave under silence the launch last week of the new Open Networking Foundation. This event must be highlighted not only because some of the SAIL partners are involved in the ONF (NEC, HP, Ericsson) but mainly because OpenFlow is in direct relation with the Open Connectivity Services work package in SAIL.

Initially launched as a technology enabling network and application experimentation in campus networks, OpenFlow has since then been perceived to have disruptive potential to obtain low cost high value networking devices. Data centres are good examples of situations where the classical network equipment does not fulfils the costs and characteristic requirements (see Hamilton’s blog post) and where OpenFlow can be a high-potential replacement candidate. That also explains why Facebook, Google and Yahoo! are part of the ONF Board of Directors.

OpenFlow does not raise interests only in data centres. In the FP-7 SPARC project, study is ongoing to determine if operators could benefit from the split between control and forwarding planes that OpenFlow provides. They are also looking at the challenges of supporting carrier grade operations.
Some research is also ongoing to apply OpenFlow not only to control packets networks but also to optical networks (FP7 project Ofelia is a good example of that).

With the publication of the 1.1 specification at the end of last year, the launch of the ONF and the participation of large connectivity consumers, OpenFlow seems to gain a high momentum that can not be ignored by researchers in the connectivity and networking domain.

Disclosure and disclaimer: I am engaged in SAIL, an ICT project around the Future Internet, on behalf of Ericsson. However the opinions expressed in this post are my personal, and not those of the SAIL project or my employer.

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