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Industry heavyweights form Open Networking Foundation

Six companies that own and operate some of the largest networks in the world -- Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Verizon, and Yahoo! -- announced today the formation of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF).


March 23, 2011  


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Six companies that own and operate some of the largest networks in the world — Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Verizon, and Yahoo! — announced today the formation of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF).

The intent of the nonprofit organization is to promote a new approach to networking called Software-Defined Networking (SDN).

Joining the six are 17 member companies that include major equipment vendors, networking and virtualization software suppliers, and chip technology providers.

“In the past two decades, enormous innovation has taken place on top of the Internet architecture,” they said in a release. “E-mail, e-commerce, search, social networks, cloud computing, and the Web as we know it are all good examples. While networking technologies have also evolved in this time, the ONF believes that more rapid innovation is needed.

“SDN fulfills this need by enabling innovation in all kinds of networks — including data centres, wide area telecommunication networks, wireless networks, enterprises and in homes — through relatively simple software changes.”

The SDN approach arose out of a six-year research collaboration between Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley.

The founding firms said that “essential to SDN” are two basic components: a software interface (called OpenFlow) for controlling how packets are forwarded through network switches, and a set of global management interfaces upon which more advanced management tools can be built.

The initial members (including founding companies) of ONF are Broadcom, Brocade, Ciena, Cisco, Citrix, Dell, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Facebook, Force10, Google, HP, IBM, Juniper Networks, Marvell, Microsoft, NEC, Netgear, NTT, Riverbed Technology, Verizon, VMware, and Yahoo!.