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Oracle joins OpenDaylight SDN project, will integrate Solaris

OpenDaylight is a project to approach software-defined networking from an open source perspective, and now Oracle is a part of it.

Oracle has joined OpenDaylight, a project promoting open source software-defined networking (SDN). The move could lead to improvements in networking capability for Oracle Solaris customers, as Oracle intends to integrate OpenDaylight SDN technology into its Solaris operating system.

The Linux Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes Linux, founded the OpenDaylight project in April 2013. Initial members included leading networking vendors such as Cisco and Brocade, as well as other IT companies like IBM, HP and Microsoft. OpenDaylight's goal is to promote an open source framework for SDN.

Neela Jacques, executive director at OpenDaylight, has seen a lot of Oracle-scale companies join the open source community, and he believes part of the reason is that their customers are wary of vendor lock-in. According to him, users "need everything to talk to everything" in their server room, but at the same time, they do not want to leave their traditional vendor's support.

Jacques imagined a user saying, "I don't have a problem with my vendors, I have a problem with how they develop software."

Jacques added that companies have to work hard to become credible as open source providers, and joining a project like OpenDaylight lends some open source credibility.

Oracle's first project with OpenDaylight is to integrate Oracle Solaris with OpenDaylight SDN. Markus Flierl, vice president of Solaris at Oracle, said the release of Solaris 11.2 in April gave Oracle that opportunity.

"The OpenStack capabilities in Solaris 11.2 are very compatible with the capabilities in OpenDaylight, and we expect to integrate them tightly," Flierl said.

There are three tiers of membership for OpenDaylight: Silver, Gold and Platinum. Oracle has joined as a Silver member, meaning it contributes $20,000 every year to the project. The required monetary contribution is on a sliding scale, so smaller companies wouldn't have to pay as much. If Oracle were to bump its membership to Gold or Platinum, it would have to contribute more money -- $250,000 for Gold and $500,000 for Platinum -- as well as have its own developers working part-time on non-proprietary OpenDaylight projects to benefit the whole community. For instance, Platinum Members contribute 10 people per year to OpenDaylight development. Flierl said Oracle may re-evaluate what level of membership it wants as the OpenDaylight project grows.

Jacques said many large companies that join OpenDaylight start out keeping their cards very close to their chests and do not share project details. But Oracle immediately announced its plan to integrate OpenDaylight with Solaris. Jacques saw this as Oracle demonstrating the right attitude for OpenDaylight -- and open source.

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