Open Networking Foundation and ON.Lab to Merge to Accelerate Adoption of SDN

Software-Defined Networking Pioneers to Chart Next Phase of SDN; Fueling SDN Adoption by Owners and Operators of Large Networks

PALO ALTO, Calif., October 19, 2016 – The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and Open Networking Lab (ON.Lab), two pioneering non-profit organizations dedicated to the widespread adoption of SDN, today announced an agreement to become a single organization under the ONF name. Joint operations will begin immediately, and will be led by ON.Lab Founder and Executive Director, Guru Parulkar. The legal combination of Open Networking Foundation and ON.Lab is expected to be completed in late 2017. Until that time, the organizations will maintain the integrity of both organizations and separate but closely affiliated operations.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why have ONF and ON.Lab entered into an agreement to become a single organization?

A: We are taking a bold step to shape the future of networking by bringing standards and open source efforts under a single umbrella, we are building real synergy between the two organizations – allowing open source development and deployment to guide standards development. The affiliation between ONF and ON.Lab will chart the next phase of SDN, helping owners and operators of large networks to adopt SDN and thus reduce their capital and operational costs and assist them in more easily creating and deploying new services.

Q: How does the agreement to become a single organization impact both organization’s member companies? Will member companies have to pay dues to both organizations?

A: The merger of ONF and ON.Lab creates a unique organization that brings together open source and standards under one umbrella while offering increased benefits to members of both organizations without any changes in existing membership fees. Members will benefit from the development of industry standards that will now follow successful open source trials in production environments, critical to real-world deployment by service providers, network operators and any startup or vendor that is looking to accelerate SDN adoption. The combined organizations will make up one of the largest ecosystems in the industry with 140-150 member companies and partners representing all stakeholders of our industry.

Q: Will there be a new board? If so, what is the composition of the board? When are the elections?

A: An interim board consisting of nine members will be established. This interim board includes: Andre Fuetsch (AT&T), Urs Holzle (Google), Nick McKeown (Stanford), Jennifer Rexford (Princeton), Guru Parulkar (ONF Executive Director), Verizon (ONOS), SK (CORD), and NTT Communications. It also includes a member elected representative for a total of nine board members. Elections for member board representative will take place over the next 30-45 days.

The permanent board will also include nine members: six elected from interim, ONOS (rep), CORD (rep), ONF member rep. This board will be announced in early 2017 and will comprise directors elected by the ONF membership at large, and from each of the large open source software projects, ONOS and CORD. The new ONF board will also include a member elected representative. Elections for member board representative will take place by the end of 2017.

The ONOS and CORD boards and governance will continue unchanged.

Q: What does a combination of ONF and ON.Lab mean for the OpenFlow standard?

A: OpenFlow and open source projects ONOS and CORD will be the focus of the organization. A roadmap for OpenFlow will be released in Q1 of 2017 with further details on the growth plans for the standard. Updates on the CORD and ONOS, including roadmap, events, working groups and governance updates, can be found on the CORD wiki web site and and ONOS wiki web site:

Q: What does a combination of ONF and ON.Lab mean for the ONOS and CORD open source projects?

A: The ONOS and CORD boards and governance will continue unchanged and they will continue to be Linux Foundation projects. ON.Lab part of new ONF will continue to lead the projects. With this news, the projects benefit from increased funding and closer collaboration with ONF’s standards developments. This creates a larger ecosystem for both projects and allows them to more directly impact standards.

Q: Will ONF remain a standards organization? Does this agreement with ON.Lab mean that ONF will focus only on open source software development?

A: ONF’s mission will be to build open source platforms and standards that the industry finds useful and embraces to accelerate adoption of SDN.

Our standards development is now being informed by successful open source software trials in production environments, critical to real-world deployments by organizations of all sizes.  We will also be working closely with the community to define how exactly open source and standards can work together.

Q: How does the agreement between ONF and ON.Lab impact other relationships with other organizations including OpenDaylight and the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV)?

A: ONF values its relationship with other industry organizations and the announcement with ON.Lab will not impact those relationships. We anticipate that our work with OpenDaylight, OPNFV, and others will continue to ensure that our standard work is derived from a consensus among many open source projects and the full ecosystem of developers.

Q: Who will lead the new ONF? Are there other changes in leadership?

A: Guru Parulkar will serve as the new ONF executive director and will oversee both standards and open source projects of the new organization. Parulkar co-founded ON.Lab and has been involved in SDN since its beginnings at Stanford and Berkeley almost 10 years ago. Open source development work will be jointly led by Larry Peterson, ON.Lab’s chief architect and an ON.Lab board member, and Bill Snow, ON.Lab’s vice president of engineering. Rick Bauer, ONF’s interim executive director, will become ONF’s head of standards.

Q: How will this merger impact intellectual property licenses?

A: All open source projects at ONF and ON.Lab are currently developed under permissive Apache 2.0-style licenses, and this will continue. ONF publishes normative standards under a modified RAND-Z license, and this is assumed to continue.

Q: ONOS and CORD are also The Linux Foundation collaborative projects. How is The Linux Foundation involved in this news? What role will The Linux Foundation play in ONF moving forward?

A: ONOS and CORD will continue to be The Linux Foundation projects and led by ON.Lab. The Linux Foundation is working to expand their ecosystems to accelerate open technology development and commercial adoption of ONOS and CORD.

Q: How will the legal combination of ONF and ON.Lab impact the ONF-Certified SDN Professional Program?

A: The ONF-Certified SDN Professional (OCSP) program will continue, providing independent validation of knowledge, skills, and abilities for engineering professionals.


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