OpenDaylight SDN Project Gets New Leadership

In April of this year, the Linux Foundation formally unveiled the OpenDaylight Software Defined Networking (SDN) collaborative project. Until now, the OpenDaylight Project has not had its own Executive Director, but that has changed.

The Linux Foundation today announced that former VMware executive Nicolas “Neela” Jacques is now the first OpenDaylightExecutive Director of the OpenDaylight Project. Jacques told Enterprise Networking Planet that the role of an executive director in an open source project is that of a facilitator.

“I am coming on board to help ensure there’s a solid infrastructure for the developer community, to help grow and support that community and to allow the industry to participate and invest in technology that will enable widespread adoption of SDN and NFV,” Jacques said. “At the end of the day, the purpose and goal of OpenDaylight is to solve the challenge of SDN and NFV for the end user, whether that’s a network operator, an enterprise or a vendor. “

Jacques added that he sees a big part of his role as helping the industry understand how open source and collaborative development can get us there faster and why it makes sense in the long-term. The role of Executive Director within the OpenDaylight Project is a new one, though Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, has essentially been filling the role during the search.

According to Jacques, the OpenDaylight board and Jim Zemin have been recruiting for the new position for several months. The project was looking for someone with the right blend of industry expertise and vision to support the developer community. In terms of organizational structure, Jacques is an an employee of the Linux Foundation and reports to the OpenDaylight board of directors.

David Meyer remains the chair of the Technical Steering Committee (TSC) for OpenDaylight. The TSC is the group of developers who make the technical decisions for the project.

“My role is to work with the TSC to support and magnify the efforts of the developer community so they can focus on innovation,” Jacques said. “How I help is by uniting resources and organizations around the shared goal of delivering SDN and NFV, such as the creation of a strategic end user council where organizations like service providers, network operators, banks, e-commerce, etc. can come together and provide input to the developer community.”

Though the OpenDaylight Project now has new leadership, it does not have a new direction or a new vision. Jacques said that he does not view his role as being one of setting a new direction or vision for the project but rather as helping the developer community achieve and realize its vision for SDN and NFV.

“The collaborative development structure for OpenDaylight is based on openness and technical meritocracy and that will not change,” Jacques said. “Code is the coin of the realm.”

The “coin” is growing in volume lately, with the upcoming release of the first OpenDaylight platform code, “Hydrogen,” due out before the end of the year.

“2014 should be a breakout year for the project as we’ll see consecutive releases appear with even greater industry participation and user involvement,” Jacques said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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