With the diversity of use cases today and the different controller choices, readers often ask us about the best way to evaluate controllers and pick the right one. And in those conversations, one point that comes up more often than not is whether they should use an OpenDaylight-based controller versus one that is not based on OpenDaylight. With approximately 50 vendors and over 300 developers contributing to the code base, OpenDaylight definitely has significant momentum. Beyond momentum though, there are a few key attributes to consider upon conducting an SDN controller comparison:
Open-source versus proprietary: our research and conversations with early adopters of SDN indicate that the open-source attribute should only be important if you are considering extending the controller or have proprietary modifications specific to your business that need to be incorporated into the controller. Certainly open-source solutions will reduce the probability of vendor lock-in, but with an increasing focus on standards-based Southbound APIs like OpenFlow, or ovsdb and existing market sensitivities towards preventing lock-in, this is less of an issue at this point in time. More focus should be paid towards functionality and fit, as well as other attributes:
Application ecosystem and maturity of Northbound APIs: SDN Controllers are deployed to solve network problems in conjunction with SDN applications. Paying attention to the business problems and understanding what applications exist for the Controller platform and whether those applications are a good fit for your business problems is one of the top attributes for consideration.