Skip Links

Cisco, IBM on the defensive with OpenDaylight

Marginalizing OpenFlow might shift the SDN conversation from network commodity to service and support

By Jim Duffy on Wed, 04/10/13 - 6:18pm.

You know, the more you consider the strategic importance of the OpenDaylight project to the vendors involved, the more it becomes apparent: Daylight is defensively strategic to those who seek to marginalize the impact of SDNs in general, and of OpenFlow in particular.

OpenDaylight was formed by Cisco and IBM and stocked with other data center server and hardware vendors ostensibly to develop an open source OpenFlow controller. The intent, according to OpenDaylight founders, is to encourage an ecosystem of SDN application developers.

But when you consider the implications of SDNs and OpenFlow, and that this group is spilling over with network hardware vendors likely to be affected by them, the application ecosystem story morphs into something more urgent from a business perspective. Rather than taking the offense in encouraging an application ecosystem, OpenDaylight is a defensive maneuver to dampen the potential of OpenFlow and SDNs to usher in a "white-box" upheaval of network infrastructure as a virtualized commodity founded on merchant silicon-based switches all speaking one standard language - OpenFlow - to take software-executed directives from a controller decoupled from the switch forwarding plane.

The Twilight in the Valley of the Nerds blog, citing a piece from Wired, summarized the capital and operational expenditure implications of SDNs and the white box situation nicely.

[SOFTWARE-DEFINED WHAT?: Move over SDN; startup looking to go where only Cisco, VMware tread]

It's obvious that OpenDaylight seeks to wrest the "standards-based" OpenFlow controller designation from any other entity or company. Any OpenFlow controller that does not adhere to the OpenDaylight architecture