Twelve companies in software, mobile computing, semiconductors, and IT equipment have joined with research groups at Stanford University and University of California at Berkeley to explore software-defined networking as a new paradigm in networking. The aim of the Open Networking Research Center (ONRC) is to develop the intellectual foundations of software-defined networking in order to fulfill its full potential.
The founding corporate sponsors of ONRC are CableLabs, Cisco, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Huawei, Intel, Juniper, NEC, NTT Docomo, Texas Instruments and VMware. They join research labs led by electrical engineering and computer science professors Nick McKeown at Stanford and Berkeley’s Scott Shenker. A third element of ONRC is Open Networking Laboratory (On.Lab) headed by Guru Parulkar, consulting professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, who will serve as executive director of ONRC.
The goal of software-defined networking (SDN) and the consortium is to open up the interfaces and software that have so far dominated network architectures, and which consortium members believe have made network technologies too complex, expensive, and difficult to manage. While industry backs SDN standards and in some cases has already introduced hardware supporting SDN, the consortium says SDN still needs a stronger research-based framework if the technology hopes to achieve its potential.
SDN emerged from the graduate work of Martín Casado at Stanford, working with with McKeown and Shenker, and is now a chief technology officer at a company developing SDN solutions, “While industry is making great progress in commercializing SDN,” says Casado, “we are still in the very early stages of SDN and we need to secure SDN’s intellectual foundations if this is to truly revolutionize networking.”
The labs at Stanford and Berkeley are expected to conduct research on standardized software stacks, network operating systems, standardized switch design, networks designed for mobile devices, and SDN applied to home networks, among other issues. On.Lab will develop open-source tools and applications.
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