SAN FRANCISCO — ONUG used to stand for the Open Networking User Group. But the group decided to keep its acronym (ONUG), yet change the meaning. The “O” now means “open community,” said Nick Lippis, the co-founder of ONUG. The “N” stands for networking as in the ability for IT professionals at large companies to network with each other. And “UG” still stands for user group, which is core to the organization.
Lippis and Ernest Lefner, SVP of network engineering at Bank of America, formed ONUG in 2013 to provide a place for IT professionals at large enterprises to share best practices and challenges. “In a nutshell, to avoid making bad tech investments,” said Lippis.
Members of ONUG may use open source software at their companies, but that software is not a focus of ONUG. “The community is the folks who buy everything,” said Lippis. “They define what’s going to be successful and what’s not. They meet year-round, develop use cases, and publish them. If a vendor’s products are not included, it sends a message. If they are included, it shows there’s a good intersection.”
For large enterprise IT departments, there aren’t that many forums to discuss best practices. They each have their own industry groups but not places to network outside their industries. “ONUG is one of the only places where large enterprises speak with one voice,” said Lippis. He cited Gartner research which predicts that IT departments will spend $3.7 trillion this year.
ONUG currently operates five working groups:
- Open SD-WAN Exchange
- Monitoring and Analytics
- Software-Defined Security Services
- Container Networking
Lippis said in his opinion the hottest working group, currently, was hybrid/multi cloud. That working group’s goal is to create a level playing field among the largest public cloud providers and have a framework that identifies a set of collective requirements that will swing leverage into the hands of enterprise buyers of hybrid cloud services.
ONUG takes credit for originally defining the SD-WAN use case. At an ONUG board meeting in 2012, Jim Kyriannis from New York University talked about the SD-WAN use case, and all the other members expressed interest in it.
“Vendors started coming to ONUG,” said Lippis. “Viptela launched at ONUG.” Recently, ONUG’s SD-WAN Exchange has made significant progress on the creation of an API that would help different SD-WAN technology interoperate.
Enterprises and Open Source
Open source software is discussed if ONUG members find it useful. For example, Lippis said OpenStack is not talked about much because it’s not widely used at big enterprises. “There’s very little open source that gets put in large enterprises with the exception of Linux with Red Hat,” he said. “We don’t chase these techs, we chase good outcomes. If anything, everyone’s experimenting with Kubernetes and Docker.”
While OpenStack is used pervasively by service providers, Lippis said enterprises are dealing with a different environment. Two big corporate members of ONUG, Kaiser Permanente and Citi, both have more than 6,000 applications, for example.
Photo: Nick Lippis kicking off the ONUG Spring 2018 conference, today.