Open source software development is the latest piece in our strategy to fight vendor lock-in. Find out why.
Vendor lock-in is a significant issue that has plagued the networking industry for far too long. It creates a market that benefits the vendor rather than the end user, minimizing the network operator’s ability to choose products based on their needs. It tends to be very expensive for customers. It also discourages competition, favoring the larger and more established companies, regardless of whether their products are more innovative or not.
Since its founding, ONF and its member companies have made fighting vendor lock-in a primary goal by encouraging interoperability through organizational efforts including open standards development, OpenFlow conformance testing, and AppFest and PlugFest events. We can also add open source software development – through OpenSourceSDN.org – to that list.
From our perspective, there are many foundational networking components that do not require vendor differentiation, and this is where open source software development can be most effective. Simply put, it eliminates redundancy. These efforts also support interoperability; when products are built and developed with an open, vendor-neutral foundation, there is a higher possibility of those products working well together. And when a community is involved, as with open source development, ideally everyone is working towards a common goal of improving something from which all can benefit, whether vendor or network operator, potentially at a more rapid pace of innovation.
While open source does not lead to interoperability on its own, it does make an impact in the fight against vendor lock-in as one piece of the whole. When you incorporate open source software into the use of open standards, conformance testing, and continued interoperability testing, a strategy to fight vendor lock-in starts to take shape.
SDN is a big shift for the networking industry, and it’s a great opportunity for every player in the space. By eliminating vendor lock-in, we encourage a healthy, competitive marketplace that values the needs of and benefits to the network operator over those of big networking vendors. As an industry organization aiming to accelerate the adoption of open SDN for the benefit of the end user, this is of utmost importance to us. I encourage you to visit OpenSourceSDN.org to get a sense for the role you might play in this. We hope you’ll join us in these efforts.
- Bithika Khargharia, Director of Product and Community Management