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Openness in the DC. And the NW.

Jun 28, 2013

Dan Pitt reflects on ONF’s endorsement of ODCA Forecast 2013, an IT industry event held in conjunction with GigaOM Structure.

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is an advocate for Software-Defined Networking (SDN) end users, and we have great respect for other organizations with similar goals and interests in SDN.

Last week I, along with Curt Beckmann and Nabil Damouny, attended Forecast 2013. The San Francisco event – held in conjunction with GigaOM Structure – was organized by the Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA). This independent consortium of over 300 members serves as a cohesive voice for suppliers and end users, encouraging the migration to cloud computing by identifying data center and cloud computing requirements to foster innovation in the IT industry and driving them into RFPs and procurement specs. Our shared commitment to end users made endorsing Forecast 2013 a natural fit, and we learned a lot at the event.

I participated in a panel, “Software-Defined Data Centers,” during the first day of the event alongside panelists from CohesiveFT, ServiceMesh, VMware, T-Systems, and EMC, and moderated by GigaOM Research’s Jo Maitland. Topics addressed by the panel included the trends of SDN and software-defined storage, the reality of the software-defined data center, the role of standards, and the challenges associated with the software-defined data center including the risk of vendor lock-in (a theme Maitland kept returning to). As a representative of ONF, I emphasized the importance of standards adherence for interoperability, discouraging proprietary approaches and encouraging collaboration through open-source experimentation.

Overall, it was great to see the ways that SDN is influencing conversations around cloud computing and the data center, and I believe there is much to be gained from these discussions. I especially enjoyed conversing with the leaders of the TMForum and the Enterprise Cloud Leadership Council (an arm of the TMForum), with whom we share many interests. The more we discuss topics that pertain to SDN, the more interest we generate and the greater we understand the needs, concerns, and interests of end users. We look forward to participating in additional ODCA events to help raise awareness of the SDN movement and maintain strong ties with end users that will lead to better solutions combining open data centers and open networking. We hope that you will join us in these future conversations as well.

- Dan Pitt, Executive Director

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Dan Pitt