Open source is center stage at Open Networking Summit

As software defined networking becomes popular, open source is taking center stage.

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Credit: Swapnil Bhartiya

Open Networking Summit (ONS) kicked off in Santa Clara this week, the first event since becoming part of the Linux Foundation.

Guru Parulkar, Nick McKeown and Dan Pitt started the Open Networking summit back in 2011. Yesterday, Parulkar said in his keynote that they started the summit as a small event to highlight the latest developments in software defined networking (SDN), and to accelerate SDN adoption by network operators and service providers.

But as almost everything is become software defined and adoption is increasing, ONS became an important event for the industry and community. The immense adoption of open source led the team to increase focus on open source and open source platforms.

And that’s when the team decided to make ONS part of the Linux Foundation, as the foundation not only has experience in running big shows, but can also bring different open source communities together that will benefit SDN.

It was a new experience for Parulkar. He is relatively new to open source, and he told me that the way this ONS is being organized is different and interesting. He said that previously ONS was a purely academic event and they had very strong quality control, typical of the academic field, where they would peer review papers for those who wanted to speak at the event. As a result, out of 10 applicants only one would get their paper approved. He said that contrasts with Linux events that are more open in the sense that more people get to share their ideas and views.

Jim Zemlin, the executive director of the Linux Foundation said on stage that the combination of a bunch of momentum in the industry will make the year 2016 the year of open source in networking.

“It’s a confluence of projects up and down the stack,” Zemlin said, “What we are seeing now is open source projects covering the gamut of technology that's required to run modern service provider networks and enterprise data center networks.”

 Zemlin said that as more of these networks become software defined, as more software needs to be created, open source is the path.

He then joked about his ‘year of desktop’ predictions and said “I have been wrong in the past about year of certain things, Linux desktop. I hope open networking is this year.”

He also mentioned that what makes open source projects so successful is not necessarily the content or technology, it’s people. And the same is the case with the Linux Foundation event, “It's people who make it work.”

“You will see a lot of content and a lot of perspective but the hallway track is what makes these events. Events like this where the actual developers who are creating this code that will run the networks of the future are actually interacting with the real practitioners, the DevOps professionals, developers, the companies who support that infrastructure, the actual project managers, people who are in charge of creating those technologies, all come together and interact. That will accelerate the development of the code, it will accelerate the transformation of the network, it's the hallway track that really makes this event special.”

Zemlin also said that since the event is part of the Linux Foundation events, they will take it beyond North America to Asia and to Europe.

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