I had the opportunity to attend the first OpenDaylight Summit last week. For those in the Infoblox community that are unfamiliar with OpenDaylight lets cover what this open source project does, who are the principal contributors and how it could potentially impact the landscape of networking, cloud and automation solutions.
The easiest way to define the project is to quote the project itself, so here is how they define what they are providing:
” OpenDaylight is an open platform for network programmability to enable SDN and create a solid foundation for NFV for networks at any size and scale. OpenDaylight software is a combination of components including a fully pluggable controller, interfaces, protocol plug-ins and applications. The Northbound (programmatic) and Southbound (implementation) interfaces are clearly defined and documented APIs.”
OpenDaylight had a rocky start in terms of contributors and some politics about who was supporting the project but those have been worked out in the last year. Today, OpenDaylight has key contributors and backing from Brocade, Cisco, Citrix, Ericsson, IBM, Juniper, Microsoft and Redhat as platinum members plus many more as gold and silver. Pretty much every significant network and compute company is backing this project. The question is, why?
This is a difficult question to answer without going down a complex market analysis. Needless to say, software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) have become very disruptive technologies in the market today that every company is needing to address. OpenDaylight is a forum to allow all these companies to work out a more standardized way of developing their solution to be compatible with others and to extend their ecosystem of partners who can use their solutions.
Think of it this way, you can absolutely download all the Linux kernel source code and compile your own version – but is that really where you should be spending your time? The kernel is the 80% part of most distributions but the 20% is where the value is placed. Using a commercial package from Redhat, SUSE or Canonical is far more convenient and easy for the majority of users. OpenDaylight i see in the same vein, you won’t consume OpenDaylight directly from the project (just like you don’t consume the Linux Kernel from the Linux Foundation either) but instead, you will see it leveraged by all the major manufacture as the 80% part of their solution with the 20% they provide as the value that makes you pick their solution.
So why is this important to Infoblox and the broader DDI and Cloud marketplace? Because SDN and NFV are critical to the future of how DDI solutions will be deployed in both Cloud and on-premise solutions. Integration between OpenDaylight and OpenStack is already happening and these solutions will only grow in size and scope. For Infoblox to be the provider of key critical DDI services in cloud (open or closed) it must integrate and provide API capabilities. Failure to do so means that DDI solutions will only consume services that are automated and controlled by other software solutions in the network. Part of the value of a DDI solution is that it is the master controller of what is happening in your environment. It has the capabilities to inform and report on what is happening because it is seeing and to a great degree controlling how hosts operate from a namespace and IP (IPv4 and/or IPv6) level.
So, the challenge for all DDI and Network Automation manufactures in the near term is: what integration are they providing to projects like OpenDaylight, OpenStack, and other SDN and NFV projects? Which ones will be important, which ones will win and what companies will leverage these solutions? It isn’t an easy question to answer and the world is changing rapidly. It only makes sense as someone who utilizes a DDI and/or Network Automation solution that you would want to understand what capabilities your vendor should be investigating and deploying. So I encourage you to ask, this is your opportunity to shape where things are going.