A10, Midokura, Pantheon Join OpenDaylight SDN Project

More than two dozen tech vendors are now members of OpenDaylight, which aims to create an open, common SDN platform.

Midokura, A10 Networks and Pantheon Technologies are the latest companies to join the OpenDaylight Project, a vendor-driven effort to create an open-source platform for software-defined networking.

The new companies bring the number of members of the project, which is being run under the Linux Foundation umbrella, to 29. The members range from top-tier tech vendors such as IBM, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Intel to smaller players like Plexxi, Nuage Networks and Versa Networks.

Such a wide range of members is an important part of OpenDaylight, according to Inder Gopal, chairman of the project’s board.

“One barometer of OpenDaylight’s success is the diversity of industry leaders that are participating and contributing code and resources,” Gopal said in a statement.

The OpenDaylight Project, led in large part by IBM and Cisco, kicked off in April, joining other efforts like the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and the Facebook-led Open Compute Project in developing open standards for software-defined networking (SDN). A key goal of OpenDaylight is to create an open, common SDN platform—which includes such features as the software-based controller, southbound interfaces and protocols to network applications, user interfaces and data plane elements, including virtual switches and physical device interfaces. Once such a common platform is in place, vendors can compete at higher levels, such as the services and applications that sit atop the SDN platform.

“Establishing an open, reference framework for programmability and control will give users the flexibility and choice to deploy SDN as they please,” A10 Networks CTO Raj Jalan said in a statement.

SDN promises greater flexibility, scalability and programmability by removing much of the network intelligence from expensive, complex physical switches and routers and putting them into software-based controllers. Most major vendors are developing their own SDN portfolios, while a growing number of smaller startups are looking to address key aspects of the technology.

Given the number of top-tier companies that make up the membership list, OpenDaylight has gotten a lot of attention. However, there has been some criticism of the group, particularly given that it’s much more vendor-driven than other open-source efforts. Big Switch Networks, one of the larger SDN startups, quit the group in June over concerns about Cisco’s influence over its direction.

“If the industry is interested in open source and open standards in networking, do we really trust Cisco with this?” Jason Matlof, then vice president of marketing at Big Switch, told eWEEK. Matlof has since left Big Switch for A10 Networks, where he is vice president of worldwide marketing. OpenDaylight officials have downplayed the concerns over Cisco’s influence.

In September, project officials gave out details of the initial release of the platform, code-named “Hydrogen.” Those details include new and legacy protocols such as OVSDB, OpenFlow 1.3.0, BGP and PCEP, multiple methods for network virtualization and two initial applications involving policy management (Affinity Metadata Service) and protection against distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks (Defense4All). There’s also an integrated plug-in for OpenStack Neutron.

Users and developers will be able to see Hydrogen at the OpenDaylight Mini-Summit in Edinburgh, Scotland, Oct. 22. The mini-summit is being run in conjunction with LinuxCon and CloudOpen Europe, which will be under way at the same place, according to OpenDaylight officials.