As vendors and organizations rush to stake claims in the evolving software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) markets, they fall toward one of two camps: those trying to claim key value points in the architecture for themselves, and those who support openness and interoperability.
A new white paper from Ciena argues the only way to turn the promise of SDN and NFV into reality is to grow the second camp and develop a true industry ecosystem.
The white paper, “Ecosystem, Not Ego-Systems” says the industry must foster openness throughout the architecture to successfully establish a healthy ecosystem of SDN/NFV contributors and innovators. The paper outlines how a software-centric network and applications architecture create a broad field of opportunity by expanding the range of players in application software, control software, and infrastructure.
On the other hand, “ego-systems” — solutions that revolve around single vendors or limited consortia of vendors — undermine the burgeoning SDN/NFV ecosystem. The paper cites the example of “closed” (unpublished or proprietary) APIs that restrict the scope of practical participation on both sides of the API to only those single vendors or consortia. Ciena argues such systems create a series of competing silos and reduce the scope and sweep of operator choices.
Open and standardized interfaces between SDN layers lay the foundation for a robust ecosystem that benefits the largest number of players, the paper says. Broadly collaborative, non-exclusive, open source efforts such as OpenDaylight are exactly what the industry needs to reinforce and promote common frameworks.
For example, OpenDaylight allows all equipment vendors an accessible “path-in-principle” to participate in OpenDaylight-powered systems, and any vendor has the opportunity to create value in and around the software-based control and application layers.
Ciena leverages the OpenDaylight framework for its Agility open architecture platform, and it is working with Ericsson to develop a multilayer WAN controller (MLWC) based on the OpenDaylight architecture. In the spirit of openness and ecosystem development, the MLWC serves as the foundation component of Ciena’s Agility software collection even as it heavily leverages and contributes to OpenDaylight’s expanding common code portfolio.
Download your copy of the new Ciena white paper, “Ecosystems, Not Ego-Systems,” to learn more.