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OpenFlow. Innovation.

Jul 31, 2015

From academia to real-world implementations and Kickstarter campaigns, OpenFlow® has come a long way since its inception.  

When academics at Stanford University set out to develop what we know today as SDN, they aimed to create a programmable network that would allow anyone to build applications that would control the way data flowed through the network. The OpenFlow® protocol was born, designed to enable the SDN controller to interact with the forwarding plane, make adjustments to the network, and adapt to changing business requirements. We’ve seen its implementation in a variety of networks, with rapid adoption in the data center. Now telcos are gravitating to SDN, and additional industries are following suit.

Since its first release, a number of well-established companies have announced support for the OpenFlow® protocol, many of them members of ONF. In more recent years, we’ve also noted an increase in innovation from startup organizations. ONF believes that innovation in SDN, both from large organizations and startups, is good for advancing the open SDN ecosystem. To encourage active participation from all types of contributors, ONF created a startup membership category. We’ve welcomed more than 30 startup companies to our roster since announcing this category in early 2014.

Utilizing an innovative approach to funding, an Australian-based startup company has turned to the crowdfunding site, Kickstarter, to fund its compact OpenFlow® switch. Northbound Networks’ Zodiac FX has the potential to provide many of the features of a traditional OpenFlow® switch without the associated cost. It is small enough to fit within the palm of your hand. Also, Zodiac FX’s firmware is completely open source, allowing for greater implementation, experimentation, and innovation throughout the open source community.

It is encouraging to see an OpenFlow® switch on Kickstarter, because it is further proof of industry interest and demand for such solutions. Northbound Networks is a new member of ONF, joining our roster of great startup member companies, and we look forward to working with them. To learn more about Zodiac FX and its Kickstarter campaign, concluding on July 31 at 4:56 p.m. PDT, visit http://kck.st/1fDUX4d.

– Dan Pitt, Executive Director