Open Networking Foundation,Organization

ONF will merge with ON.Lab to advance SDN adoption

October 20, 2016

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and the Open Networking Lab (ON.Lab) have announced plans to merge. The organizations, both of which are focused on driving adoption of Software-Defined Networking, said the merger will help to drive the next phase of cooperation to drive network virtualization.

The ONF was launched back in 2011, with the primary goal of advancing the OpenFlow standard, and is backed by 110 companies. Meanwhile, ON.Lab was founded in 2012 to advance the Open Network Operating System (ONOS) project, and the Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter (CORD) initiative, and numbers some 70 member organizations.

The merged entity will retain the ONF name, but in actuality it’s the ONF that’s evolving more, as most of its nine-member board has already been replaced. The ONOS and CORD projects, meanwhile, will retain their boards and will continue to operate under the same governance as before.

The merger won’t be finalized until late 2017, when Guru Parulkar, founder and executive director of ON.Lab, will take over as head of the newly combined ONF organization. Until that time, the groups will maintain separate identities while closely affiliating operations, they said.

When the merger is complete, the new ONF will be based in Menlo Park, Calif., where both organization already have their headquarters. The combined organization’s open-source software development work will be led jointly by Larry Peterson, chief architect of ON.Lab, and Bill Snow, vice president of engineering at ON.Lab. Meanwhile, Rick Bauer, ONF’s interim executive director, will serve as ONF’s new head of standards.

Advancing SDN

Driven chiefly by large network carriers like AT&T Inc. and CenturyLink Inc., the SDN market is expected to be worth $132.9 billion by 2022, according to Allied Market Research. With such a huge potential market to tap, the combined ONF and ON.Lab plan to chart the next phase in SDN’s development, which involves helping network operators and owners to reduce operational costs and create and deploy new services more easily.

A unified organization enables software to inform new standards and help drive much faster adoption of SDN,” said Andre Fuetsch, ONF Board member and president of AT&T Labs and CTO of AT&T, in a relea

When the merge is complete, the two organizations will bring together the operations, membership, budget and employees of both entities, helping to advance those goals, they said.

For now, the ONF will be governed by an interim board of directors until the merger is complete. This board of directors will be comprised of one delegate elected by ONF members, and additional delegates from its main backers, AT&T, Google and NTT Communications. The interim board will also include ONF cofounder Nick McKeown, current ONF board member and Princeton University Professor, Dr. Jennifer Rexford, and Dr. Guru Parulkar.

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