Move from Openflow to ONF

Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Verizon, Yahoo, and Deutsche Telekom have formed Open Network Foundation (ONF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting a new approach to networking called Software-Defined Networking (SDN). The description of ONF is,

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is a nonprofit, mutual benefit trade organization organized under Section 501(c)(6) of the US Internal Revenue code. ONF’s mission is to promote the development and use of Software-Defined Networking (“SDN”) technologies, including OpenFlow, to allow networks to improve more quickly. SDN enables rapid innovation because it allows network owners and operators to optimize the network for their needs

This is a critical step to take Openflow from a research project to an industrial consortium, which is supposed to accelerate the acceptance of this new technology. The key founding members of ONF are all heavy-weight data centers, whose best interest is to enable the innovation to optimize the network for their needs.

However, it is interesting to look deeper into the initial members, which includes all the networking incumbents Broadcom, Brocade, Ciena, Cisco, Citrix, Dell, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Facebook, Force10, Google, HP, IBM, Juniper Networks, Marvell, Microsoft, NEC, Netgear, NTT, Riverbed Technology, Verizon, VMware, and Yahoo!.

It is hard to imagine Cisco or Brocade is really serious about SDN, which would enable a new breed of network vendors to replace the incumbents in the public cloud or private cloud data centers. Start-ups such as Nicira (interestingly, missing from the list) and BigSwitch Networks (also missing) can collaborate with commodity open-platform vendors like Pronto to bring better managed and scaled network to the data centers. Let’s hope Cisco and Brocade won’t do the same political fight in ONF as they did in  FCoE.

Pronto will continue to support Openflow and ONF. We would welcome any free-lancing developers or start-ups to work with us in developing the new breed of data center networks. Send a mail to if you are interested in collaboration.


About James Liao
James is a data center architect, focusing on the scalability and operation of data center infrastructure.

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