The OpenDaylight Project is getting bold. Having faced long lists of questions and doubts at inception, the open source group is now on its third code release and is proving that the networking industry really can operate under a collaborative model, OpenDaylight Executive Director Neela Jacques said.
The strength of open source was one of the prevalent themes in his keynote talk kicking off the OpenDaylight Summit today.
Eighteen months ago, as OpenDaylight’s first code release came out, Jacques was an open source ambassador willing to entertain the questions and doubts — many, many doubts — that still surrounded OpenDaylight. Today, he spoke from a position of strength, saying OpenDaylight has shown that this open source thing not only works but should supplant the routine behind networking standards.
“I believe that the era of standards wars is over,” Jacques said. Standards have come to be all about vendors coming to “start a brawl,” advocating for their own technologies to “get an advantage” or a head start over competitors. “That model isn’t working for the industry,” he said.
As has often been said, open source provides an alternative by forcing people to bring code rather than arguments. That kind of collaboration, with competitors sincerely working together to hammer out solutions to problems, is where the industry’s future lies, Jacques said.
His model for this comes from competitive cycling, à la the Tour de France. Racers can save energy by drafting — riding behind someone else. As a result, riders will spend long periods of time voluntarily exchanging the lead.
“They realize that it makes more sense to continually collaborate, to help each other, until that final moment when it’s time to compete. And then, they compete ferociously,” Jacques said.
That’s the model of collaboration he’d like OpenDaylight to continue to foster. “Fools think collaboration is getting others to do things your way,” he said.
Voting With Their Feet
OpenDaylight does seem to have cemented itself in the networking industry, and it’s shown that the collaborative whole can work its way out of major arguments. (Case in point: the move to what’s called a model-driven architectures, as opposed to API-driven ones — a move that was criticized as being unnecessarily complicated but that makes it easier to support many generations of network equipment.)
The total number of contributors nearly doubled between the Hydrogen and Helium releases, to 291 from 154 — and it jumped again, to 502, with the Lithium release that came out in June.
Of the 674 people working on open-source networking projects during the past 12 months, 359 are at OpenDaylight, Jacques said. “I’m proud to say that developers are voting with their feet.”
And end users are coming on board. “In private, they share with me their visions, and it’s incredible the number of parts of their businesses touched by what they’re building on OpenDaylight,” Jacques said.
IoT and Particle Colliders
Jacques outlined the main use case he sees for OpenDaylight at the moment — some of which are mundane but, in OpenDaylight’s early days, important. Case in point: giving operators a centralized way to monitor the network. “It’s not my long term goal with OpenDaylight, but I can show immediate value,” he said. Traffic engineering is another use case in operators’ immediate grasp.
But Jacques also presented a couple of use cases to stimulate the imagination, including one involving the Internet of Things (IoT). The province of Quebec has a smart grid running live that uses OpenDaylight to collect sensor data on water and electricity usage. “If we can get data from all of those areas, we can create optimizations not just to save money but to dramtically reduce our energy use,” Jacques said.
This “green cloud” is a public/private partnership that’s built on OpenStack with the help of Inocybe, Ericsson, and Quebec’s École de Technologie Supérieure (ÉTS). “It’s not the biggest implementation of OpenStack you’ve seen,” Jacques said — it involves hundreds of cores and hundreds of terabytes of storage — but it’s sizable and could prove meaningful.
Another glamor use case is with the Large Hadron Collider. Researchers have more than 200 terabytes of data to share, and 13 institutions chosen to share it with. But hundreds of other universities want in, and the LHC team could use their help in analyzing the data.
So, the team began using the OpenDaylight platform starting with the Hydrogen and Helium releases, with plans to upgrade to Lithium. “They realized the value of platform. They realized the value of a network, in this case the network of people,” Jacques said.