Announced in April 2013, the OpenDaylight Project (ODL), an open source SDN project hosted by the Linux Foundation, was created in order to advance software-defined networking (SDN) adoption and create the basis for a strong network functions virtualization (NFV). It was created as a community-led and industry-supported open source SDN framework. The aim of the OpenDaylight Project is to offer a functional SDN platform that gives users directly deployed SDN without the need for other components. In addition to this, contributors and vendors can deliver add-ons and other pieces that will offer more value to OpenDaylight.
Although the Linux Foundation hosts the OpenDaylight Project, it doesn’t only run on Linux platforms. It is licensed under the Eclipse Public License (EPL), often chosen for Java-based projects. Using EPL allows OpenDaylight to increase its compatibility with the expansive environment of libraries and third-party components that already have been released under the EPL license. The EPL is an approved open source license, and according to the Free Software Foundation, is a free software license.
OpenDaylight (ODL) Technical Overview
In February 2014, OpenDaylight announced “Hydrogen,” its first code release. It is made up of 15 projects, all siphoned off into three different editions. The Base Edition of consists of the OpenDaylight Controller (an SDN Controller) and simple functionally to test it — in a nutshell, it’s what everyone needs in order to use OpenDaylight. Upon the release of Hydrogen, developers were already looking toward the next code release: Helium.
Founding members included Arista Networks, Big Switch Networks, Brocade, Cisco, Citrix, Ericsson, HP, IBM,
Juniper Networks, Microsoft, NEC, Nuage Networks, PLUMGrid, Red Hat, and VMware. (Note: Juniper, Microsoft, and VMware left ODL in 2015). Initial members donated the resources necessary to help create an open source network of groups focused on moving the SDN platform forward. Membership in the OpenDaylight Project now consists of three tiers — Platinum, Gold, and Silver — that all offer different amounts of contribution. Platinum members must commit 10 developers to the project, with only three developers from Gold members.
Despite its founding members, OpenDaylight doesn’t have a single company or group of companies that “lead” the project. Instead, it operates through an open, active community that is available for anyone to join. Requirement for joining is to contribute to the openness of the community, therefore, those who join offer assistance in a variety of areas — from coding to Board of Directors leadership. The latter manages the business aspect of the OpenDaylight, including marketing and operational decisions. There is no monetary requirement to be a part of the OpenDaylight Project.
The Technical Steering Committee (TSC) handles oversight of design and development activities of the OpenDaylight Project. The TSC is also in charge of release dates, release quality standards, technical best practices, monitoring technical progress, meditating technical conflicts between contributors and project leads, as well as managing inter-project collaboration. Anyone who can develop and contribute code can be elected to the TSC, and subsequently voted onto the Board. This allows for contributors with vision to make their mark on the OpenDaylight Project.
OpenDaylight utilizes the open standards that are currently in place, thanks to working with leaders like the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). OpenFlow is a primary example of a SDN protocol supported by OpenDaylight, and as new products are created in the future, the OpenDaylight Project will undertake those standards as well. There is a common understanding within the industry that while OpenFlow is beneficial in several scenarios, SDN is not only OpenFlow or any other single protocol. Therefore, the OpenDaylight Project is intended to configure several SDN interfaces, including, but not limited to, OpenFlow.