Breaking News: What To Do With The Merged OpenDaylight SDN Controller?

SDN Controller Appears via OpenDaylight

To find out more about how an OpenDaylight Controller works, how it integrates and deploys in SDN environments, as well as learn which companies are creating ODL Controllers, visit our popular OpenDaylight Controller page.

Update: Big Switch to scale back OpenDaylight involvement.  Details on LightReading with response from OpenDaylight around the risk of open-source software controlled by a single for-profit vendors.  See our post on Open Source: The Biggest Risk to SDN.  Also check out a smart post by Mike Bushong at Plexxi:  ODP to GSD

Update #2: We’ve received response from OpenDaylight regarding BigSwitch:

As much as Big Switch Networks would like to paint this as some sort of David vs Goliath struggle, the facts simply don’t support it. It’s more accurate to say this is open source vs. the goals of a single, for-profit startup. In this case the developer community combined technology from multiple sources (including BSN), which the company obviously didn’t like. Open source is based on compromise and working together. Sometimes strong motivations and investor goals can get in the way of that. In the spirit of open source, we fully expect BSN to honor its commitments to this project. We also hope BSN will continue to engage in the community discussions as more eyes on code and more suggestions and alternative approaches in the long run produce the strongest code. We’ve said many times before that the beauty of the open source software development model is the best code always wins – we never said one company had the best, entire codebase.

Breaking News:  What to do with the merged OpenDaylight SDN Controller?

When OpenDaylight emerged in early April on the first debates was around what will be the code base for the OpenDaylight SDN Controller.  Today, after much debate and discussion (check out the OpenDaylight Technical Steering Committee calls or email threads), some private snipping, and a couple of lame attempts to lure SDNCentral stir the pot unnecessarily with some good-old fashion back-stabbing (we didn’t bite) — OpenDaylight has announced that the community has agreed upon the core code base for the OpenDaylight Controller.

The OpenDaylight Controller is JAVA based and will:

  1. Core controller software: Beacon which came out of Stanford and is the heart of both Cisco’s and Big Switch’s controllers
  2. Service Abstraction Layer (SAL) and the OSGi framework that Cisco added to Beacon
  3. Controller Add-ons:  Such as, host-tracking, tunnel management, and likely a number of bug fixes, stability enhancements, and minor features that Big Switch added to Beacon to create Floodlight.


  1. Will this proposal stick?  Likely — the technical team to proposal the merged controller was lead by the, Linus Torvalds of SDN — Dave Erickson — who’s the author of Beacon and the original version of the Cisco controller who also mentored and consulting with Big Switch on Floodlight development; and Colin Dickson of IBM who created the D-E Proposal which was then approved by the Technical Steering Committee made up of representatives from many organizations.  Of course, OpenDaylight is open source with an Eclipse license , so anyone is free to add, remove, or substitute modules they think are better suited to their implementation.
  2. How quickly will this merged code be available to work on?  We expect that those attending the OpenDaylight Hackfest on Thursday (tomorrow) will get their hands on the blueprint and likely some (very) raw code to start hacking on.

What should I do?

  • Network Vendors:   If you haven’t started learning how OpenDaylight fits into our solutions architectures and framework, it time to get moving.  If your customers leverage OpenFlow, allocate some resources to test and validate that your OpenFlow implementations interoperate with OpenDaylight
  • Developers:  Download and start hacking away — learn how you apps can integrate into the merged OpenDaylight Controller and starting show examples of value you add to the ecosystem.  If you haven’t yet, sign up to the OpenDaylight newsletters.
  • Customers:  We are likely a couple of quarters out before a supported version is out.  If you are have time and resources to experiment with unsupported, buggy software, and contribute to your feedback to improve it — download now and get started.  If you are looking for supported software that will solve a specific problem — hold off until the initial supported release and a couple of apps come out.

What are we doing with OpenDaylight? A couple of things:

  • SDNCentral:  Continually adding OpenDaylight content on SDNCentral to make it easier for customers, developer, and vendors to find the information they need; publishing guest blog posts about OpenDaylight to further the discussion
  • Wiretap:  We’ve downloaded and compiled the code in our labs, started testing to understand future suitability of the core OpenDaylight controller code for based for network virtualization deployments, virtual network tapping, and service chaining based on our Wiretap clients scale and automation requirements.


  1. Melissa LoganMelissa Logan says

    Thanks, Matt. If folks want to test OpenDaylight or collaborate on development, there are a host of resources available on our wiki here:,_Hacking,_and_Pushing_the_Code_from_the_CLI#External_Links_From_the_Community_for_Dev_and_Ops_with_ODP

    A virtual Hackfest is happening June 6-7 from 9:30am to 5pm PST on the #OpenDaylight IRC channel on FreeNode. All are welcome to join and we hope you do!

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