Friday News Analysis: Open Networking Foundation, Dave Ward on Open


Open Networking Foundation Extends Conformance Testing to Non-Members

“The Open Networking Foundation (ONF), a non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the adoption of open Software-Defined Networking (SDN), today announced it has extended the ONF OpenFlow™ Conformance Testing Program to include testing for non-ONF members. Companies interested in receiving an OpenFlow Certificate of Conformance for their solution, regardless of ONF membership, are entitled to use the OpenFlow-conformant logo and assert their product’s conformance with the respective version of the OpenFlow specification upon successful completion of the program.”

OpenFlow continues to be important as a southbound protocol in the SDN world, and the ONF is encouraging OpenFlow adoption by opening up conformance certification to non-ONF members. Historically, the ONF has been a partially open and partially closed group, with standards issues hammered out behind closed doors by paying ONF members. The resulting ONF standards were open for anyone to use, but acknowledgement of conformance was a privilege reserved for members only. By opening up conformance to non-members, ONF is encouraging wider OpenFlow adoption.

The big deal about conformance is that a maker of an OpenFlow product can state categorically to a consumer that the product conforms to the OpenFlow specification 1.0.1 at one of three levels: fully, layer 2, or layer 3 (analogous to what subset of the 12-tuple match the product is capable of). Depending on what SDN application you’re running, you might not need conformance at all levels. The testing is done by any one of six independent test labs. 

At least tangentially related is this post over on Network Heresy about radically improved Open vSwitch performance.

Read the entire press release here.

Not exactly a news item as such, but you might have noticed that the IETF held IETF91 in Hawaii a couple of weeks ago…which seems to have had an intriguing issue raised.

Some have been pondering the role standards development organizations will have for IT going forward. Cisco’s Dave Ward has raised this exact issue in the context of open source software and open standards. Dave’s got a plan to make sure the IETF doesn’t become irrelevant. Here are a few quotes from Dave’s blog post on Cisco.com.

While it’s important to have SDOs and consensus-based standards, SDOs need to realize the OSS cycle time can create a market-based consensus to fill a standards void (and this realization may be the key to our collective futures). The impedance mismatch between SDOs and OSS is at least 2:1 (two years to a paper standard versus one year to a product that creates a de-facto standard).

Locally, within the IETF, we face numerous issues around our own life cycle.   How much of our time are we be spending on further standardization around established technology at the expense of more pertinent and relevant work groups?

The world shouldn’t wait for two years for a standard for Service Function Chaining or even more for Network Virtualization Overlays (or NFV in general — which is more of an ETSI problem, since the IETF did not take it up at all).

There’s much, much more Dave says in the blog post. I just highlighted a few of the opening salvos. You might also want to review his closely related presentation to the IETF and accompanying audio.

For the PR Folks…

If you’d like me to analyze your news, be sure ethan.banks@packetpushers.net is on your distribution list. I focus on the following areas:

  • SDN & NFV for data center and enterprise
  • Open networking
  • Enterprise & data center networking
  • Ethernet fabric, switching, standards, and optics
  • Application delivery controllers
  • Visibility fabric
  • Network virtualization
  • Network management
  • Network automation
  • Public/private/hybrid cloud
  • Wireless LANs

Other topics (like security and storage) are secondary for me; I am less likely to pay attention to them.

About the author

Ethan Banks

Most people know me because I write & podcast about IT on the Packet Pushers network. I also co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

Find out more on my about page.


Most people know me because I write & podcast about IT on the Packet Pushers network. I also co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

Find out more on my about page.

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