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OpenDaylight Is Key to Microsoft's SDN Strategy

When the Linux Foundation brought together rival networking and infrastructure providers to join its new OpenDaylight Project last April to provide interoperable software-defined networks, it was interesting to see Microsoft sign on as a "platinum" member. Windows Azure, Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 already support the Open Network Foundation's OpenFlow standards for SDNs (and were enhanced with last fall's R2 releases). But by joining the OpenDaylight Project, Microsoft was committing to open source implementations of key SDN standards.

Microsoft is an OpenDaylight Project platinum sponsor along with Brocade, Cisco, Citrix, Ericsson, IBM, Juniper Networks and Red Hat. In addition, Microsoft Group Program Manager Rajeev Nagar, who oversees the Windows Datacenter Networking and Platform team, is on the board and technical steering committee of the project.

In an interview Monday, Nagar explained why Microsoft is putting so much effort behind OpenDaylight. "If you want customers to be able to try out and deploy SDN technologies, if you want to drive interoperability through different vendor implementations, we think participation, encouragement and contribution to industry consortia like OpenDaylight is a valuable thing to do," Nagar explained.

It's still the early days for SDNs but as organizations move to these new virtual network infrastructures to automate their datacenters, Microsoft sees System Center, Windows Server and Windows Azure as critical components of these new architectures.

The OpenDaylight Project released its first deliverable last week  called the Hydrogen distribution. "Hydrogen is a very good start to the effort," Nagar said. "It offers a base controller and then it also offers a slew of services in relation to the controller that people can try out. When folks say 'hey, I want to deploy SDN or try it out, want to deploy an overlay network or I want to control or manage my network through a programmatic manor,' those capabilities are enabled through Hydrogen."

At the summit, Microsoft demoed Hydrogen, which is built on Java, on Windows Server and Windows Azure. Nagar wouldn't say if or when it would offer the code with Windows Server, System Center or Windows Azure.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 02/12/2014 at 12:57 PM


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