Advocating End-Users and Open Networking

by Marc Cohn

One of the particularly noteworthy aspects of the journey towards Open Networking is the strong pull from the end-users who stand to benefit most. Unlike many standards initiatives, Software-Defined Networking – the catalyst for network transformation – enjoys broad support from the enterprise to data center operators, through the carriers.

Two of the most important forces serving to catalyze the transformation to a new (and open) world order are propelled by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and the Open Networking User Group (ONUG), two industry forums committed to advocating the end-user and open networking. ONF is focused on development, promotion, and adoption of open SDN technologies and standards, guided by end-users, and featuring over 100 members spanning the entire networking value chain. Similarly, ONUG is an end-user forum chartered to expedite the transition to open networking.

Both the ONF and ONUG are guided by leading technology visionaries from the end-user community:

  • The ONF Board of Directors consists of Deutche Telecom, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Google, Microsoft, NTT, Verizon, and Yahoo
  • The ONUG Board of Directors consists of Bank of America, CitiGroup, Fidelity, Gap Inc., JPMorgan Chase, and UBS.

To capitalize on our complementary and collaborative charters, the ONF and ONUG are pleased to announce a strategic alliance. Our mutual goals are to channel the voice of the end-user to drive the SDN standardization process, and jointly promote open networking for end-user benefit.

Nick Lippis, co-founder of ONUG and Chairman of the ONUG Board, commented ‘ONUG is pleased to team up with ONF, who is taking the lead in open SDN definition and standardization. We appreciate the opportunity for our end-user membership to influence the direction of SDN and open networking by sharing our members’ use cases, requirements, and concerns.’

Dan Pitt, Executive Director of ONF concurs: ‘ONUG is gaining critical mass as a forum to advocate for end-users as the entire industry is on the verge of being transformed by open networking. ONF embraces the voice of the customer, and is excited about joining forces with ONUG to reshape the future of networking’.

As an Industry partner of ONUG, ONF endorses the upcoming ONUG Fall 2013 event planned for October 29-30 in New York City. This event, hosted by JPMorgan Chase, is a follow-up to the initial ONUG event held in February 2013 in Boston.

At that event, 150 end-users braved the cold and snow piled in the streets in chilly Boston to exchange ideas, and preliminary plans on SDN. A number of significant outcomes  resulted from that end-user only meeting, which shaped the agenda for ONUG.

During the upcoming Fall 2013 event, ONUG is introducing the ONUG Academy on October 29, featuring SDN and ONF visionaries and leaders to educate the industry on the widespread implications of SDN. The ONUG Conference will be held on October 30, and is dedicated to an end-user-only dialogue on open networking.

Highlights of the program include:

  • 5 distinct tutorials
  • Opportunity to learn about SDN strategies from IT visionaries on the leading edge
  • SDN Exhibition, including startups and leading OEMs who are paving the way with innovative products
  • Unparalleled networking opportunity with technology consumers and providers alike

Join us in New York in late October to experience first-hand the SDN revolution. ONF members receive a special discount.


For additional information:

Open Networking Foundation

Open Networking User Group

ONUG Fall2013 Academy Schedule

ONUG Fall2013 Conference Schedule

ONUG Fall2013 Registration


NOTE: This post has also been published on the ONF Blog

Author bio:

Marc Cohn, Market Development, Ciena Corporation                                                     Chairman, Open Networking Foundation Market Education Committee

Marc Cohn is a Senior Director for Ciena’s Market Development organization, focused on Ciena’s SDN strategy. He also serves as the Vice-Chair of the Market Education Committee for the Open Networking Foundation, and is a Delegate in the ETSI NFV ISG. Marc is also the liaison between the ONF and ONUG

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