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Around the World With SDN

Apr 17, 2014

After two weeks of traveling, Dan Pitt reflects on his SDN experiences in Tokyo, London, and Paris.

Each spring, I find that the Open Networking Summit (ONS) is just the beginning of my busy event schedule. This year was no different. Immediately following ONS 2014 and the ONF Member Workdays, I spent two weeks traveling to Asia and Europe to attend some events, meet with current and prospective member companies, and provide updates to locally-based journalists. While definitely a busy couple weeks, it was wonderful to spend time in Tokyo, London, and Paris with SDN influencers and innovators.

Late last year, I was asked by Dr. Atsushi Iwata of ONF Member Company NEC to speak during a symposium hosted by the O3 Project, a Japanese government-supported project aimed at building real instantiations of SDN-enabled applications and involving companies Fujitsu, Hitachi, NEC, and NTT. I’ve had great past experiences in Japan, and was honored to have been invited by Dr. Iwata to participate.

I arrived in Tokyo several days in advance of the symposium so that I could spend time visiting ONF member companies and examining the latest SDN solutions. I visited the NTT labs in Yokosuka, where they are developing the open-source, OpenFlow® SDN switch Lagopus, and in Musashino, to see their work in developing a component-based SDN framework (controller) called Ryu. I had not gotten an update on Ryu for a year and a half, so I was delighted to see how far it has come. I saw Lagopus in Okinawa in December and at ONS, but this was my deepest dive yet at this open-source, OpenFlow® 1.3 switch that works with and without merchant silicon. We held an ONF Member Workday update to present the results of the early March event to the Japanese member company representatives who could not attend in Santa Clara. We also organized an ONF Meetup (for members and non-members alike, as usual) with a delicious (and surprise) birthday cake to celebrate ONF’s birthday as a public organization, drawing in many familiar faces. Thanks to ONF’s man in Japan Daisuke Saso for organizing and orchestrating both the update and the Meetup (and for the surprise).

I then spoke at the O3 Project symposium – as the only English-speaking participant – and I enjoyed both the other speakers (there being always enough keywords in English on the slides for me to follow) and the poster sessions before and after the presentations. There is always such a great, positive spirit in Japan, and it’s thrilling to see the dynamics of their SDN ecosystem in action.

I hadn’t been to London in over a year, so between my speaking engagements in Tokyo and Paris, I stopped by to meet with press and prospective and current member companies.

My conversations in London focused primarily around the organization’s 2014 initiatives, including our recent announcements at ONS: the SampleTap application and the winner of our OpenFlow® Driver competition. I also enjoyed some highly stimulating conversations with local member companies Colt, Goldman Sachs, Intune Networks (from Ireland), Metaswitch Networks, and Sanctum Networks (also from Ireland). ONF is organizing the first-ever SDN conference in Ireland for later this summer; more on that in a future blog post.

On March 18, I took the train underneath the English Channel (my first time) to attend the MPLS & SDN World Congress, the NFV & SDN Summit, and the IPv6 World Congress in Paris. The MPLS & SDN World Congress and the NFV & SDN Summit shared their first-day programs, and I presented a keynote to the joint audience. I also attended sessions at all three events, when not meeting to discuss ONF’s newly-announced collaboration with ETSI and other news and initiatives with press and analysts. I had hoped to visit at least one museum while in Paris, but the conference programs and expo were just too compelling. Perhaps next time.

I’ve been going to these events for a couple years now, and it has been interesting to see the changing focuses of these conferences based on industry demand. Originally, these events started out as Ethernet and MPLS conferences, but now SDN and NFV pervade both the agendas and the hall conversations. Perhaps my most important takeaway was the high interest by telecom service providers in migrating quickly to SDN using as much of their installed base of equipment and leveraging as much of their existing skill sets and vendor relationships as possible. ONF will be looking more closely at how we can help them do that.

ONF hosted another ONF Meetup in Paris and, of course, ate another birthday cake. Plenty of good conversations, delicious food, and excellent company prevailed – these trips are always enjoyable, if for no other reason than the people I get to visit, who invariably bring new perspectives to my understanding of the market and its needs.

For photographs and video from my trip, please visit the photo gallery and the SDN Videos page on the ONF website.

- Dan Pitt, Executive Director

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Dan Pitt