Friday, November 1, 2013

SDN Themes from ONUG - Community Matters!

I was privileged to attend the Open Networking User Group (ONUG) Conference, ONUG Academy and mini Tech Field Day event hosted by JP Morgan Chase on October 29 and 30.
I attended at someone else's expense. Disclaimer. Additional disclaimer: I have a personal relationship with one of the people behind the ONUG conference. That fact will not color the opinions I express about ONUG. If I say I like something, it's because I like it, okay? :)

SDN Joke from Brent Salisbury's awesome ONUG
I don't know these cats nor the owner of the photo.
Community Matters
ONUG is founded on the idea that the Software Defined Network (SDN) user community needs to stand up for itself. Prior to ONUG the direction of SDN was set by a handful of players including:
  • Vendors who are interested in shaping the SDN marketplace and standards bodies around the capabilities of their products, rather than around the problems being faced by their customers.
  • Powerful end users who needed SDN to solve their own peculiar problems. The problems they're solving, and the techniques they're using do not align well with the challenges nor capabilities of mere enterprise users.
  • Researchers, who took SDN in directions that were academically interesting but didn't necessarily overlap with real world problems.
ONUG provides a forum where end users of network technology can contemplate the promise of SDN,  commiserate about challenges faced, unmask the realities of available offerings, and gain new perspective on the marketplace in a user-centered environment.

Vendors and media were not welcome in many of the discussions, giving typically taciturn customers (especially the financial folks) some freedom to talk openly about their experiences. Real customers talking about real environments proved to be a strong antidote to vendor propaganda. I'm sure that everyone who attended left with something new: knowledge, friends, contacts, perspective, business, etc...

Without ONUG, we'd be forced to buy what the vendors are selling. ONUG shouldn't be missed because it unifies a potentially vocal community which will shape the SDN marketplace.

If you're interested in SDN, you should probably be attending ONUG conferences.

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