That may be the ONF's concern as well. The ONF's participation, endorsement and support was missing from the OpenDaylight press release and related material, but the OpenFlow-focused organization, founded by Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Verizon and Deutsche Telekom, issued a statement upon request that it is watching Daylight and other initiatives to see how they "measure up" to openness.
"ONF welcomes all who support our mission of furthering the commercialization of open, standards-based SDN, and we are pleased to hear that the OpenDaylight Project will focus on the OpenFlow protocol standard -- the first and only vendor-neutral standard communications interface between the control and forwarding layers of an SDN architecture -- that ONF provides and continues to evolve," states ONF Executive Director Dan Pitt. "We encourage our member companies to participate in industry initiatives -- including open-source ones -- designed to foster innovation, implementation, and deployment. These member companies are taking leading roles in the OpenDaylight Project. As a voice of the user community, ONF supports those initiatives that are true to our guiding principles by being based on multi-vendor standards and open to broad, merit-based, multi-vendor input. We are eager to see how this and other initiatives measure up to these principles and meet the needs of users."
The OpenDaylight work will include an attempt to standardize a northbound API from the network infrastructure to the SDN orchestration layer to aid in the programmability of the network. OpenFlow is one of the southbound network control protocols both OpenDaylight and ONF will support, but ONF passed on working on a northbound API and has no open source resources with which to attempt it, Ward says.
"There's no standards body working on northbound APIs," he says. "So we're creating the de facto standard. Let's use open source to get there."
Some analysts believe OpenDaylight will be more targeted to enterprises than the ONF, which is founded by large Web-scale companies and service providers.
"The vendor community realizes that the Googles and Facebooks of the world will continue their pursuit of SDN-style network virtualization and network programmability," says Brad Casemore of IDC. "That said, the enterprise remains up for grabs. The ONF speaks articulately and cogently for the interests of web-scale data centers, but it hasn't meaningfully espoused the cause of the typical enterprise, or the enterprise data center.
"In a certain sense, you could view the formation of OpenDaylight as a vendor-led attempt to reframe the discussion of SDN," Casemore adds. "It's fair to wonder, then, about whether OpenDaylight will be, as its proponents contend, a complement to ONF. Rather than a complement, it could actually develop into something more akin to an alternative to ONF."
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.