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Agile Computing Authors: Jayaram Krishnaswamy, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Tim Fujita-Yuhas, Elizabeth White

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Open Networking Foundation Announces Annual Technical Roadmap

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF), a non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the adoption of open Software-Defined Networking (SDN), today announced the organization’s annual technical roadmap for 2014, designed to advance open SDN, build the OpenFlow protocol as a means to achieving vendor-neutral open SDN, and connect end users to SDN through the development of a full SDN vendor ecosystem, providing migration guidelines, and serving as a focal point for inbound use case requirements.

“ONF’s chief, constant motivator is our dedication to SDN end users,” said Dan Pitt, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation. “Addressing their needs is always of utmost importance for the organization, and our initiatives in 2014 are driven by this goal. Whether it is through taking real use cases to motivate our technical specifications, opening up organization membership, or providing valuable information to ensure successful SDN adoption, 2014 is about real, vendor-neutral SDN solutions for end users.”

To further advance open SDN in 2014, ONF has established a new membership category for startups at a significantly reduced membership fee, helping these companies to become increasingly involved in building the SDN ecosystem. In addition, as a collaborative organization, ONF has created liaisons with important industry organizations including the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), the Open Compute Project, the Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA), the OpenDaylight Project, OpenStack, the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF), and TM Forum to explore new methods for pioneering open SDN.

ONF will also hold two PlugFests this year, enabling the advancement of SDN through collaboration. These events are opportunities to drive interoperability, deployment, and commercialization of OpenFlow-based SDN. The first PlugFest will be held on May 12-16, 2014, and will be ONF’s first global PlugFest. The event will be hosted concurrently at the Indiana Center for Translational Research and Education (InCNTRE) and Beijing Internet Institute (BII). This will be the first time an ONF PlugFest has been held outside the United States, and we expect to continue this practice on an ongoing basis. Additional details will follow regarding the second PlugFest, taking place in November.

Started last year, ONF’s OpenFlow Conformance Testing Program provides networking vendors an opportunity to demonstrate conformance with the OpenFlow specification, the first SDN standard and a vital element of an open SDN architecture. More importantly, the program builds customer confidence in the quality of advertised solutions. Currently this program verifies conformance with OpenFlow 1.0, and ONF is continuing development of the program to include conformance testing for OpenFlow 1.3 in 2014.

“ONF fosters interoperability by creating and stewarding open, vendor-neutral standards,” said Rick Bauer, technical program manager of ONF. “Openness is going to be the determining factor in encouraging widespread adoption of SDN in the marketplace, and through our work, we hope to make SDN implementation as straightforward for end users as possible so they can begin experiencing the benefits quickly and seamlessly.”

Recently, ONF announced the availability of an open-source network tapping application at the Open Networking Summit. The new ONF SampleTap application was built on OpenDaylight using OpenFlow to serve as an educational resource for programmers. ONF will continue the creation of these types of educational applications in an effort to enable network operators further experience with OpenFlow.

ONF is working to build beyond the OpenFlow substrate through the efforts of a number of Working Groups, which help develop use cases and study the most important issues related to SDN. Four Working Groups – the Migration Working Group, the Northbound Interfaces (NBI) Working Group, Optical Transport Working Group, and the Wireless & Mobile Working Group – were established in the last year.

Earlier this year, the Migration Working Group published the “Migration Use Cases and Methods” document that provides a set of high-level guidelines, methods, and recommendations to migrate network services from traditional networks to software-defined networks based on the OpenFlow standard. The Migration Working Group, moving forward, is charged with helping find ways to make the transition to SDN as smooth and seamless as possible.

The NBI Working Group was chartered because the proliferation of approaches to NBIs is impeding the progress of SDN. As part of ONF’s role in helping the industry develop and maintain approaches to SDN, the organization is taking a lead in helping end users better understand what NBIs serve what needs. This Working Group is currently developing a solution brief on NBI use cases to be available later this year.

The Optical Transport Working Group addresses SDN and OpenFlow standard-based control capabilities for optical transport networks. The group is developing a document describing applicable use cases as they apply to optical transport networks, and a reference architecture and framework document for describing terminology, modeling of optical transport switches and networks, and utilization of virtualization.

Lastly, the Wireless and Mobile Working group was created to collect, merge, and refine use cases for wireless and mobile network use of open SDN technology. The goal is to propose common ground architectural frameworks that will encompass different elements of OpenFlow-based or OpenFlow-oriented wireless and mobile network domains. Already the group has created three projects, related to the mobile packet core, wireless backhaul, and integrated fixed/wireless operation in the enterprise.

ONF recently announced the planned participation of 22 member companies in the upcoming SDN Solutions Showcase, taking place at the SDN and OpenFlow World Congress in Düsseldorf, Germany from October 14 – 17, 2014. The showcase was designed to provide real-world use-cases by comprising teams of ONF member companies, providing demonstrations of real-world examples of various SDN technologies, products, and applications. Additional member companies participating in the showcase as well as details regarding the showcase will be announced later this year.

ONF’s 2014 technical direction can be summed up in their ABC approach:

  • Advance open SDN through technical standards, APIs, and liaisons to infrastructure organizations.
  • Build real OpenFlow through conformance testing, PlugFests, and open-source projects.
  • Connect users with SDN through migration, carrier-focused working groups, and liaisons to user groups and upper-layer organizations.

For additional information about ONF, the organization’s efforts, and SDN and OpenFlow-related resources, please visit the ONF website.

About ONF

Launched in 2011 by Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Verizon, and Yahoo!, the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is a growing nonprofit organization with more than 140 members whose mission is to accelerate the adoption of open SDN. ONF promotes open SDN and OpenFlow technologies and standards while fostering a vibrant market of products, services, applications, customers, and users. For further details visit the ONF website at:

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