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Member Workdays. Working Members.

Nov 5, 2013

Reflections on the sixth ONF Member Workday and the exciting announcements made throughout.

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) hosted its sixth Member Workday event in October, bringing together representatives from our 100+ member companies worldwide. These semiannual events are opportunities for attendees to meet face-to-face, network with other member company representatives, discuss Working Group activities, and share the great work that these groups are accomplishing with the rest of the organization. (We also do some actual technical work!)

Over 230 representatives from ONF member companies spent these two fast-paced days in the San Francisco Bay Area discussing hot industry topics such as Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), various collaborative liaisons with industry organizations, and more. And everyone enjoyed the no-holds-barred Q&A with ten members of our Board of Directors at the opening plenary.

The ONF Member Workday was also characterized by discussion on the announcement of the first company to receive a Certificate of Conformance through this program (NEC Corporation, conducted by Indiana Center for Network Translational Research and Education [InCNTRE]) and the announcement of the  third international testing facility added to ONF’s OpenFlow® Conformance Testing Program (the University of New Hampshire InterOperabiity Laboratory [UNH-IOL]).

Just as notably, we announced the chartering of two new Working Groups within the organization. The first group, Northbound Interfaces (NBI), was created to help develop information models for NBIs by prototyping and gaining end-user feedback on selected examples with real code. Over the past two years, ONF has noted an explosion in the number of approaches to NBIs, which has led to end-user confusion and challenges associated with developing to the large variety of programmatic interfaces to serve diverse Software-Defined Networking (SDN) use cases. This newly announced Working Group will strive to reduce end-user confusion while helping to resolve those challenges faced by application developers.

The second group, Wireless and Mobile, will discuss the progression of methods by which OpenFlow® can be used to control wireless Radio Area Networks (RAN) and core networks. It will collect use cases and determine architectural and protocol requirements for extending ONF-based technologies to wireless and mobile domains.

Both of these new Working Groups started out as conversations among member company representatives at events such as this. At this Member Workday a new conversation started on the subject of carrier-grade SDN. Initially it was just a BOF at the Friday breakfast. Within minutes we spun up a new discussion group with its own mailing list and everything. Yes, great things do happen each time our members come together, and it is humbling to be involved with so many brilliant and motivated people. If you are an employee of an ONF member company, I strongly encourage you to consider attending the next event in March 2014. The opportunities at Member Workdays are virtually endless. I hope to see you there.

- Dan Pitt, Executive Director, Open Networking Foundation

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Dan Pitt