OpenDaylight Grows Open Source SDN

The OpenDaylight Project is moving forward — fast.

OpenDaylight officially launched in April with a who’s who list of leading networking vendors. That list has now grown to 27 member companies. The project has also grown from being just a Software Defined Networking (SDN) controller to an expansive collection of technologies to enable a new era of networking.

OpenDaylight operates under the auspices of the Linux Foundation, no stranger itself to running large scale collaborative projects. Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, told Enterprise Networking Planet that OpenDaylight is now accelerating at a rapid rate.

“There is code now coming in that delivers a broad set of functionality,” Zemlin said. “We’ve now got members and non-members contributing stuff and people scratching their own itches around security and other components.”

Zemlin noted that the companies and individuals that now contribute to OpenDaylight form a broad and diverse community.

“We’re also aiming to build an ecosystem around the platform,” Zemlin said. “When we have our release in December, companies will be building products and services based on OpenDaylight.”


Dave Meyer, Technical Steering Committee (TSC) chair of the OpenDaylight Project, explained to Enterprise Networking Planet that 11 projects now exist within OpenDaylight. Those 11 projects are all likely to be part of the December release.

At the core of OpenDaylight is the controller, originally contributed by Cisco. NEC contributed a Virtual Tenant Networking effort (VTN). VTN technology enables Layer 2 and Layer 3 multi-tenant virtual networks.

IBM contributed a technology called Open DOVE. Distributed Overlay Virtual Ethernet (DOVE) provides a virtual network abstraction with Layer 2 or Layer 3 connectivity.

OpenFlow, originally at the heart of SDN, also plays a key role in OpenDaylight. Cisco, Ericsson, and IBM are jointly developing a plugin effort as one of the OpenFlow projects.

“The idea is behind the plugin is how do we build an infrastructure so that applications don’t have to know or make a choice between different OpenFlow versions,” Meyer explained.

Other projects within OpenDaylight now include the Affinity Metadata Service, contributed by Plexxi, which provides a policy infrastructure. Radware contributed the Defense4All tools, which provide security infrastructure for OpenDaylight. The Yang Tools project provides model-driven tools to enable SDN.

Open vSwitch Database Management Protocol (OVSDB) is another key part of the overall OpenDaylight effort now. Open vSwitch (OVS) is a virtual switching technology originally contributed by VMware’s Nicira division into the mainline Linux kernel.

Meyer stressed that overall, OpenDaylight is building a lot of code. Part of the challenge now involves ensuring commonality across the various projects to enable the entire ecosystem.

“All of the projects have expressed their intent to be part of the first simultaneous release, which will be in December,” Meyer said.


The system’s ability to abstract itself to enable vendors and users to easily make use of functionality will determine a key part of OpenDaylight’s success. Meyer noted that in many respects, the abstraction goal for OpenDaylight is much like that of the open source OpenStack Networking project, currently known as Neutron.

The general idea is to be able to expose the functionality of the platform, but at the same time also to enable apps that can easily plugin.


One of the key components still in development in OpenDaylight is a dashboard-type system, much like Horizon in OpenStack. Meyer said “Visibility,” a project just now getting put together, will address that by delivering visibility into an OpenDaylight deployment.


The OpenDaylight effort has not been without its critics.

Big Switch Networks, for example, withdrew some of its support in June over concerns about Cisco’s influence with the controller.

“In any open source project, haters gonna hate,” Zemlin said. “There are always lots of people that will say an open source effort isn’t going to work.”

Zemlin stressed that it’s important not to pay too much attention to the naysayers, and that the proof is in the code.

“It’s hard to refute that there is not a diverse community that is functional,” Zemlin said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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