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06 June 2013, 12:05

Big Switch leaves OpenDaylight

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Open Daylight project The OpenDaylight project for open source Software Defined Networking (SDN) has run into problems with a founder company, Big Switch, which is now leaving the project. Announced in April, OpenDaylight (ODL) brought together Big Switch Networks, Brocade, Cisco, Citrix, Ericsson, IBM, Juniper Networks, Microsoft and Red Hat as founders in a project to create a framework for SDN that would allow networking to be virtualised, building on existing SDN standards such as OpenFlow. The "Platinum" founders are committing a million dollars each and ten full time engineering staff to the development process.

Big Switch was expecting to contribute its Floodlight controller code to this new framework and Cisco was contributing its Cisco ONE controller code. Debate surrounded a proposal, called the Dixon-Erickson or DE proposal, that would merge the two code bases. Big Switch had been hoping that the project would start development with a new neutral repository in which the founders would merge the two code bases with a new foundation being built. But, as the company explains in a blog post, the OpenDaylight leadership has decided to use Cisco ONE code as a base and merge Big Switch's code on top of that.

Although there was support for a neutral repository approach from some companies, none appears to have had influence on final decision making. Big Switch says it would be faced with porting its technology to run on Cisco's Service Abstraction Layer (SAL). "It became clear to us that this isn’t a foundation that we can build on", said Big Switch, because its own controller, it feels, has a one- to two-year head start on the ODL code base and because it does not wish to use its energy "playing politics with the incumbent vendor community". The company says it likes the idea of OpenDaylight and hopes it will evolve "into a user-oriented community instead of one controlled by a few large incumbent vendors. If these things happen, then we will be back".

Meanwhile, OpenDaylight Technical Steering Committee Chair, Brocade's David Meyer, has posted a review of the first sixty days of the project and how it is moving forward with the Dixon-Erickson proposal which will use Cisco's SAL, orchestrated and managed with OSGi, as the foundation and how Big Switch's code will be incorporated into the code base. "Debate and strongly held opinions inform important decisions. Not everyone gets everything they want all the time, but the process ensures the best ideas percolate to the top over time."



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