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Two Royal Births In One Week!

Jul 26, 2013
Rick Bauer
Rick Bauer About the author

The Open Networking Foundation Launches an OpenFlow® Conformance Testing Program

Talk about new arrivals! While royal-watchers worldwide tuned in to celebrate the birth of George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, whom we will soon know “simply” as “His Royal Highness, Prince George of Cambridge,” the really exciting arrival for networking professionals worldwide was announced just a few days later. On Wednesday, July 24, the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) OpenFlow® Conformance Testing Program was launched. No trumpets or royal fanfare, but in many ways the program signals the next step in the evolution of OpenFlow—the growing acceptance of the protocol specification in the marketplace, and the desire for savvy networking professionals to ask for the “OpenFlow® Conformant” label.

And no, there was no betting on the program name.

The development path was long (a whole lot longer than 9 months!), and paralleled the growing acceptance of the OpenFlow® protocol specification. There are many ONF members to thank, but we do wish to highlight the contributions of the Testing & Interoperability Working Group, chaired by Michael Haugh of Ixia and Ron Milford of InCNTRE (“Royal ONF Princes,” to be sure!). Some of the best engineering talent in the world has contributed to the efforts of this Working Group, and their input has been invaluable. The 20+ companies who have been regular participants in our twice-yearly PlugFest events are also due their share of praise, as they have been diligently testing, editing, validating, and providing effective test cases for the testing specifications. Attending an ONF PlugFest is exciting—new products, new capabilities, and there is a wonderful collaborative spirit that transcends all of the competitive juices that are always a part of our organization.

I’ll take some time to answer many of the questions we have been receiving in this and other blogs to come, but our special website area for the ONF OpenFlow® Conformance Program offers many answers for those interested in the meantime. There you will find the latest information, news, and FAQs to help you understand the program, the entitlements, and the conformance testing process.

For this blog post, the first question we’d like to address is regarding the benefits of testing under the ONF OpenFlow® Conformance Testing Program. There are unique entitlements for those who participate in the program:

  • Participants have the peace of mind that their testing lab is accredited by ONF, and also meets the highest, ISO-standard protocols for testing measurements, results handling, and confidentiality.
  • Participants receive the use of ONF’s “OpenFlow® Conformant” logo to use on all conformant products—packaging, website use, and other collateral.
  • Participants receive a handsome “Certificate of Conformance”, which they can display prominently (in either digital or printed form) at tradeshows and other events. Thoughtful decision-makers who are involved in networking equipment purchasing will soon be looking for OpenFlow® conformance to help validate their purchasing.
  • Participants will have all conformant products listed on a new product directory area on ONF’s website. As visitors look to the leading source in the world for information on Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and OpenFlow, they will discover those cutting-edge products that are OpenFlow® conformant.

[caption id="attachment_831" align="alignleft" width="214"]The OpenFlow® Conformant logo—your promise that a product conforms to the leading SDN networking protocol specification in the world. The OpenFlow® Conformant logo—your promise that a product conforms to the leading SDN networking protocol specification in the world.[/caption]

In addition to these specific benefits, it’s important to realize how much testing, interoperability, and agile product development are part of ONF membership. First of all, with ONF membership, your company becomes one of the vanguard organizations leading the development of SDN in general and OpenFlow® in particular. No longer waiting to hear about the specifications, use cases, and new programs to serve the growing SDN ecosystem, your company becomes a leader, an influencer, and the ideas that help SDN grow are your ideas.

As an ONF member, developing and testing your product gets easier. Join the Testing & Interoperability Working Group, and learn how leading companies worldwide develop their products, help influence features and attributes of OpenFlow® that get developed, and participate in PlugFests. Product managers and engineers routinely tell us that because of their membership and participation in these ONF members-only activities, they cut weeks and even months off their products schedules, help develop new engineering talent, and understand how to develop the features and aspects of their new networking products.

Additionally, once your product(s) pass the OpenFlow® conformance test, you will be able to use the trademarked “OpenFlow® Conformant” logo on product packaging, printed and web collateral, and other materials vital to getting customers to notice (and purchase) your product. IT thought leaders and customers who know SDN know ONF, and they know OpenFlow. Leverage this growing awareness for your products, and you’ve got another reason for success!

We’ll keep posting answers to the questions you’ve been asking, and an entire FAQ document will be added to the website shortly. Until then, if you have a question, please don’t hesitate to send me an email at rick.bauer@opennetworking.org.

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Rick Bauer