SDN open source entities ON.Lab and the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) announced on Wednesday that they have joined forces in order to foster industry cohesion and fuel broader adoption of SDN.
The newly formed entity is going forth under the ONF brand, and joint operations are already underway. While there has been recent speculation about a merger between ON.Lab and the Open Networking Foundation , discussions heated up about a month ago.
Guru Parulkar, the founder and executive director of ON.Lab , is leading the new version of ONF. The new ONF's goal is to blend standards with open source processes, according to Parulkar. (See ONF, ON.Labs to Merge.)
"This will build real synergy between the two -- letting open source development and deployment guide standards development," he said in a prepared statement.
The real test for the new ONF going forward will be deployments. There are multiple open source options, such as ONOS and ODL, for service providers to choose from.
While joint operations are underway, the merger won't be completed until late 2017. ONF will be governed by an interim board of directors, which will include a mix of communications and cloud services delegates from companies such as AT&T, Google, NTT Communications, SK Telecom and Verizon.
Early next year, a new ONF board will be formed, and it will include directors elected by the ONF membership at large, and from each of the large open source software projects, ONOS and CORD. The ONOS and CORD project boards and governance will continue to operate under the auspices of the Linux Foundation.
"There is the potential for improved focus at ONF and quicker delivery of software," wrote Joe Skorupa, vice president, distinguished analyst, Data Center Convergence for Gartner, in an email this morning. "The risk is that the new board of directors becomes vendor-dominated, in which case we may well see a return to the bad old days of standards being used to slow progress to ensure incumbent vendors maintain control of the technology stack."
On that note, Parulkar said the open source industry needed to create standards more quickly and without allowing them to be "gamed" by the large equipment vendors in a previous story with Telco Transformation. (See ON.Lab's Parulkar: Vendors 'Gaming' Open Source Standards.)
Founded in 2011, ONF was an early leader in SDN, and the developer of the OpenFlow architecture, but a host of new open source organizations and projects have elbowed their way to the forefront. One of ONF's new projects includes updating OpenFlow.
ONF brought 110 member companies to the merger while ON.LAB has an ecosystem of more than 70 companies and 17 partners.
While standards have had trouble keeping up with open source efforts, uniting ONF with ON.Lab should speed up SDN-related deployments and become a gathering place for software-based standardization efforts.
"This consolidation makes sense as it can lead to greater organizational efficiency, and now the ONF has SDN controller software, which it didn't have previously," wrote Andrew Lerner, research vice president for Gartner Inc. , in an email.
— Mike Robuck, Editor, Telco Transformation