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Open Networking Foundation and ON.Lab to Merge to Accelerate Adoption of SDN

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and Open Networking Lab (ON.Lab), two pioneering non-profit organizations dedicated to the widespread adoption of SDN, today announced an agreement to become a single organization under the ONF name. Joint operations will begin immediately, and will be led by ON.Lab Founder and Executive Director, Guru Parulkar. The legal combination of Open Networking Foundation and ON.Lab is expected to be completed in late 2017. Until that time, the organizations will maintain the integrity of both organizations and separate but closely affiliated operations.

According to Allied Market Research, the SDN market is expected to reach $132.9 billion by 2022. The affiliation between ONF and ON.Lab will chart the next phase of SDN, helping owners and operators of large networks reduce their capital and operational costs and assist them in more easily creating and deploying new services.

“Over the last few years, it has become clear that SDN standards and open source software development must come together. Open source is critical to SDN deployment,” said Parulkar. “With the combination of ONF and ON.Lab, we are shaping the future of networking by bringing standards and open source efforts under a single umbrella. This will build real synergy between the two – letting open source development and deployment guide standards development. We believe that standards based on widely adopted open source projects such as ODL, ONOS®, OPNFV, and CORD can be more widely and easily implemented within the industry. This emphasis on open source, supported by ON.Lab’s successful software development, will guide ONF’s ongoing standards work, including updates to OpenFlow®.”

Under this new paradigm, the organizations will bring together the operations, membership, budget and employees of both organizations, including ONF’s 110 member companies and ON.Lab’s ecosystem of more than 70 companies and 17 partners. ONF will be governed by an interim board of directors through the end of 2017. This board will be comprised of one delegate elected by the ONF membership and additional delegates from AT&T, Google, and NTT Communications. SK Telecom will represent CORD on this interim board and Verizon will represent ONOS. The interim board will also include ONF Co-Founder Nick McKeown; current ONF board member and Princeton University Professor, Dr. Jennifer Rexford; and Dr. Guru Parulkar.

A new ONF board, to be announced next year, will be comprised of one member at large elected by the ONF membership and two project members representing each of the large open source software projects, ONOS and CORD. Project members will be chosen by the ONOS board and CORD board from their group of service provider partners. A total of six additional governing directors will be elected by the interim board. The ONOS and CORD project boards and governance will continue unchanged.

“Agreeing to combine the two organizations is a win for everybody. ONF’s standards work will benefit from ON.Lab’s much larger software development team, allowing ONF to derive useful standards from deployed open source software,” said Google’s Urs Hölzle, current chairman of the ONF Board. “ON.Lab’s software development projects will benefit from ONF’s global recognition, and its large membership representing almost every company in the networking industry.”

The union of ONF and ON.Lab will offer increased benefits to members of both organizations without any changes in existing membership fees. Members will benefit from the development of industry standards that will now follow successful open source trials in production environments, critical to real-world deployment by service providers, network operators and any startup or vendor that is looking to accelerate SDN adoption.

ONF will continue advancing ONOS, the software-defined networking (SDN) OS, and the Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center (CORD™) open source projects, which are led by ON.Lab and The Linux Foundation. The organization will also work with other open source projects such as OpenDaylight and the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) to ensure that future ONF standards, including ongoing updates to OpenFlow, are derived from a consensus among these open source developer communities.

“AT&T with its Domain 2.0 program has been a significant investor in SDN and a sponsor and supporter of ON.Lab from the outset,” said Andre Fuetsch, ONF Board member and President of AT&T Labs and Chief Technology Officer of AT&T. “We see a lot of value in combining the best of ONF and ON.Lab. To continue driving adoption of SDN, we need both high-quality open source software for the necessary but non-differentiating infrastructure as well as open standards and APIs. This will allow us to quickly create and deploy innovative new services above and to control standard hardware below. A unified organization enables software to inform new standards and help drive much faster adoption of SDN.”

ONF will maintain its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., where both ONF and ON.Lab are already co-located. The combined organization’s open source software development work will be jointly led by Larry Peterson, chief architect of ON.Lab, and Bill Snow, vice president of engineering at ON.Lab. Rick Bauer, ONF’s interim executive director, will now serve as ONF’s head of standards.

Stanford Professor Nick McKeown, co-founder and board member of both ONF and ON.Lab said: “SDN has made tremendous progress in the last few years. For SDN to be widely adopted we need to produce high-quality open source software that network operators will deploy and improve. Today there is incredible innovation happening in software, in switch operating systems, programmable forwarding planes, network operating systems and new SDN/NFV orchestration systems, for example. It’s important that we combine the best standards work with the best of open source software to accelerate the deployment of both. I’m delighted to see the two most important SDN non-profit organizations unifying to accelerate mainstream adoption of SDN.”

About ONF

Launched in 2011 by Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Verizon, and Yahoo!, the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is a growing non-profit organization with more than 130 members whose mission is to accelerate the adoption of open SDN. ONF promotes open SDN and OpenFlow technologies and standards while fostering a vibrant market of products, services, applications, customers, and users. For further details visit the ONF website at: http://www.opennetworking.org.

About ON.Lab

Open Networking Lab (ON.Lab) is a non-profit organization founded by SDN inventors and leaders from Stanford University and UC Berkeley to foster open source communities for developing tools and platforms to realize the full potential of SDN, NFV and cloud technologies. ON.Lab provides engineering resources on behalf of the open source ONOS, CORD, and Mininet projects among others. For further information on ON.Lab, visit http://onlab.us/.

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