Sure, these technologies might be a little new and they have their drawbacks, but organizations are already building products with open source in mind, meaning that future deployment is imminent, the ONS chair told the crowd.
Avoiding the open source movement might lead to lack of relevance down the road, Parulkar says. That has a lot to do with three factors:
- Service providers are pulling for open source
- The push for open source is unstoppable
- Those two factors create major incentives to find usable business models.
Parulkar says this is the perfect storm, especially for those that are reticent to leave behind their legacy models. This is to be expected — companies have done things a certain way for a while, and open source products and services are shaking up the industry. This point is the core of ONS itself.
Open source models have found a friend in the service provider market. Wanting the agility of a cloud provider to foster quick creation of new service and applications, service providers also want to hone the economics of the data center, says Parulkar. Service providers want to be able to build their infrastructures with only a few commodity pieces enhanced by open source software and white boxes. Parulkar quoted AT&T‘s John Donovan from last year’s ONS event, saying that, “no army can hold back an economic principle whose time has come.”
That unstoppability of open source technologies is realized by the several groups rooted in their goal of making openness an industry staple. OpenDaylight, ONOS, Open Networking Foundation (ONF), OPNFV … each organization has a mission statement pledging open source values, but why?
Because open source is real, Parulkar said. It’s happening, and it’s being put to use in releases like ONF‘s Atrium, just announced last week. Dan Pitt, ONF executive director, stopped by ONS to share how the three thrusts of Atrium (open SDN, OpenFlow, and open source) create a “radical way” to advance the open source agenda. “It’s a sign of the future,” Pitt says.
The work of ONF and other organizations like it prove this isn’t just a “bunch of guys working in a garage,” Parulkar said. They have established processes, compelling use cases, release schedules, and examples of deployment, making open source more than just a pipe dream. The evidence is in the organizations putting open source to use today, despite the worries surrounding it, he said.
Parulkar conceded that open source platforms may lack features and functions but said that will soon be resolved with continued work on open source models. It’s no secret that there are several open source projects out there (and so many acronyms!), but choice and competition is driving innovation, he said. Yeah, there might be an margin of error and consolidation necessary as open source grows, but this is a normal trajectory that the industry must endure.
We’re all trying to reinvent the Linux wheel, Parulkar said, but it doesn’t mean the open source movement is a passing whim. “Don’t take this for granted.”