Dan Pitt shares highlights from the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress, including the SDN Solutions Showcase and OCSP training/testing sessions.
The fourth annual SDN & OpenFlow World Congress was a blast, and a success! Over 1,500 attendees (including representatives from nearly 200 network operators) from around the world met in Düsseldorf, Germany, to discuss the present state and future of SDN and OpenFlow (and NFV). I can easily say it was the most exciting World Congress thus far, and ONF is proud to have co-hosted all of them with Layer123. All five days of the event featured enlightening sessions, compelling expo booths, and more real SDN use cases. Plus, I tried to talk to everyone (not successfully).
The week started with the ONF Euro-Summit, where ONF member company representatives shared SDN use cases for a range of network operators spanning major carriers to the data center. We’ve been doing these workshops at the beginning of the event for a few years, and we think they provide one of the most valuable program days of the week. We also conducted a brief members-only portfolio review and then hosted an open meetup of Congress attendees, as we do every year… and they attend in droves, sharing the latest news and ideas in a convivial setting.
We hosted our third SDN Solutions Showcase at the event, giving attendees the chance to witness SDN in action. With 13 companies offering a total of 19 demonstrations in categories such as Carrier WAN SDN, Data Center SDN, Campus SDN, SDN Testing and Validation, and SDN/NFV, there were plenty of real-world SDN use cases to be seen, especially since every demo required a real operator and a real application. I even saw a college student set up an LTE network in about 15 seconds (and take it down in five)! The first-ever “Best in Showcase” award, selected by event attendees, went to our very own OpenSourceSDN.org project Aspen, co-led by teams from Microsoft and NEC. Congratulations to all who were involved in this award-winning project! In addition, the enthusiasm from the prior week’s Proof of Concept demonstration of Wireless Transport SDN in Madrid, which we announced in a press release on the opening day of the Congress, bubbled throughout the week.
We also brought something completely new to this year’s event. Not only is obtaining the necessary skills in SDN vital for career development as this movement progresses, but encouraging widespread base-level, vendor-neutral knowledge also plays a pivotal role in ensuring open SDN’s success. At the World Congress, our ONF-Certified SDN Professional (OCSP) Program launched; we hosted free training and testing sessions to certify attendees’ vendor-neutral SDN skills. It was a pleasure to see so many people excited about learning, taking the test, and having the opportunity to become an ONF-Certified SDN Associate (OCSA).
My most surprising takeaway from the event was the outspoken general interest in information modeling expressed during nearly every session. It is clear that service providers from telcos, the cable industry, and even the BBC recognize the importance in building networks and establishing consistent end-to-end services. The demand for a core information model is there, and ONF is already viewed as a leader. As representatives of other organizations agreed, we must take ourselves out of our silos, move from our provincial attachment to our own terminology, and get this right.
With all of the eye-opening things I saw and heard throughout the week in Düsseldorf, I think we are making great progress in accelerating the adoption of open SDN and building the community to do so. If you couldn’t make it to this year’s World Congress, I hope you can make it to next year’s.
What was your favorite thing about SDN & OpenFlow World Congress? Share your highlights and takeaways with us in the comments below or on Twitter.
– Dan Pitt, Executive Director