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Driver Competition. Winner.

Mar 5, 2014
Rick Bauer
Rick Bauer About the author

ONF’s Rick Bauer recaps the ONF Driver Competition and announces the winner. 

The Oscars, Emmys, the Olympics—it seems that we are in contest season. The hard work, the preparation, the anticipation, and the final recognition are all part of why we watch, why we participate, and why individuals and organizations decide to compete in the first place. Those same actions and emotions are swirling around ONF as we announce today the winner of our ONF OpenFlow® Driver Competition.

The envelope please.

And the winner is… the CPqD organization from Brazil.

We enthusiastically congratulate CPqD on winning this competition, and we salute the worthy contributions from eight additional organizations. Before the applause dies down too much, you should know a bit more about the process,  the competition, and the judging, and make your plans right now to take a closer look at this open-source SDN software that we are releasing to the world today.

ONF designed a competition last year to create a necessary part of the SDN and OpenFlow® ecosystem that end users could download and companies could freely leverage in their own product development planning. With great assistance from the wise men and women of the ONF Technical Advisory Group (TAG), we created the ground rules and the criteria that our judges would use to evaluate the entrants. We announced the competition and received inquiries almost immediately. (The $50,000 grand prize no doubt played some role in generating that interest.)

Upon our launching the competition, organizations got busy writing code, and ONF got busy finding the best judges available to evaluate the code submissions. We were lucky to find judges who were well-versed in software development, and are SDN experts from industry, research, and academe—from around the entire world. Selecting seven who would carry the evaluation forward was a tough challenge, but we finally identified our judges and waited for the deadline.

We did not know how many entries we would receive. This competition had a high bar for every entrant, and privately I hoped that we would have three or four high-quality submissions.

We had nine highly-qualified entrants, and so the first task was to whittle that list down to three finalists. The judges had plenty of time to put each of the submissions through their careful analysis, and ONF solicited feedback on objective entry forms, evaluating the entrants over 28 variables. Tabulating all the feedback, we realized that three organizations had submissions that were worthy of moving on to the final round of deeper evaluation. At that point, the judges again evaluated the entries from CPqD, Flowgrammable, and Infoblox with even closer scrutiny. As the judging criteria also called out OpenFlow® 1.0 and 1.3 conformance, we determined that each judge could not provide the test harness, test cases, and similar testing regimen for even these three finalists.

Enter Luxoft, one of ONF’s member companies, who stepped up and volunteered to create a custom testing experience for the finalists. After a few weeks of development, the Luxoft team created core test cases and test code for OpenFlow® 1.0 and 1.3 conformance evaluation. The testing went through 20 core test cases, and ran through the Christmas holiday season. Ash Bhalgat (senior director of products at Luxoft and active participant in several ONF working groups) and Vasily Suvorov (Luxoft CTO) assembled a team in the US, Europe, and Russia to complete the testing in record time—even burning the clock over the holiday weekends to meet our schedules. We can’t thank the Luxoft team enough. They were able to give the judges the data they required (after hundreds of hours of testing and development) to perform the thorough evaluation we needed. I could not stop stressing to the judges and Luxoft how important it was to provide a judging experience every bit the equal to the hard work of these teams.

And our judges, ably assisted by Luxoft, delivered.

One by one, on the deadline day for all final votes, the judges’ entries started arriving—by phone, by email, from Japan, China, Washington, and the Bay Area. One by one we received, independently and confidentially, without any collaboration or communication, the final tally.

And the final tally was unanimous—the winner was CPqD.

I had one easy call to make, and two very difficult ones. While it was easy and clear that we had an undisputed winner, all of the judges remarked how well the finalists had performed. We immediately made plans to honor all of them at our Member Workday taking place this week. And so we congratulate all our participants, thank our judges, and salute the singular contribution of CPqD. We hope you will download this code, install it, and use it in your testing and development efforts. We’re featuring it at the Open Networking Summit (along with a few other surprises we have in store for the industry), and we hope that our early efforts to create an open, easily accessible, and virtuous software ecosystem will be successful. We have heard commitments by organizations inside and outside ONF that they will leverage this OpenFlow® driver wherever possible. We know that CPqD plans to continue to develop and build out a fuller driver ecosystem within the ONF Git repository, and we’ve provided an open source licensing model (Apache 2) that allows everyone to leverage this code into their own commercial products with ease.

We think we’ve provided all the tools—and a great entry—to continue to build this SDN and OpenFlow® ecosystem. But that’s not for us to decide.

This time, you can be the judge.

- Rick Bauer, Technical Program Manager, Open Networking Foundation

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