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OpenContrail SDN Group Creates Advisory Board

The Juniper-led organization is one of a number of open-source efforts that have cropped up around SDN and NFV.

Juniper Networks, which in September 2013 launched an open-source version of its Contrail software-defined network controller, announced that an advisory board has been created to help fuel more community involvement in the technology's development.

In a May 13 post on the OpenContrail blog, officials overseeing the development of the open SDN controller said the 11-person OpenContrail Advisory Board represents both users and developers. The board will give work with the OpenContrail leadership team on a range of issues, from setting priorities to growing the community to developing road maps.

"As OpenContrail has rapidly become the default OpenStack networking platform for a growing number of organizations and individuals, we wanted to ensure that the broader community helped in the long-term success of the project," the leadership team wrote in the blog.

Eight months ago, Juniper officials launched the company's Contrail SDN controller, leveraging technology it inherited after it bought startup Contrail Systems for $176 million in late 2012. At the same time, the company introduced OpenContrail, which is being developed via the Apache 2.0 license. The OpenContrail effort is one of several open-source efforts—including the OpenDaylight Project and Open Network Foundation—that have grown up around SDN.

SDN and network-functions virtualization (NFV) are being developed to help create networks that are more programmable, flexible and automated to handle the changing demands being placed on networks by such trends as cloud computing, big data, mobility and virtualization. SDN and NFV does this by removing much of the network intelligence and tasks traditionally housed in physical switches and routers and putting them into software.

Vendors and industry analysts see a strong market for SDN in the next few years. Analysts with Infonetics Research said the space could hit $3.7 billion by 2017.

However, recent studies are showing that while some organizations are beginning to adopt SDN technology, others are unsure about what it means or what it does. In a survey released by Network Instruments May 12, one in three respondents said they will have adopted SDN by the end of 2015. However, 37 percent said SDN could not be defined, "like a trip without a road map."

A similar study released last year by QuinStreet Enterprise—publisher of eWEEK—found that despite the hype, SDN is still an emerging technology that has relatively low penetration in the data center. Still, networking professionals are talking about it, the study showed.