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Top 10 reasons to use open source software defined networking

Gary Newbold, Vice President, Asia-Pacific and Japan, Extreme Networks | Dec. 18, 2014
In this article, Gary Newbold, Vice President of Asia-Pacific and Japan for Extreme Networks, highlights the top 10 reasons why organizations should consider the adoption of open source software-defined networking (SDN).

4.    Community
Open source has the power to build communities who believe in the technologies and are passionate about seeing them come to light. The many are smarter than the few - anyone can participate regardless of affiliation, adding to the collective brain trust to overcome an industry's toughest challenges. It makes individuals and companies smarter, as they benefit from a much larger R&D effort.

The Linux Foundation Collaborative Trends Report also found that 50 percent of corporations contribute to open source, and 56 percent say they will increase their contributions this year. Individual developers and businesses benefit from the trend towards collaboration[7].

5.    Freedom
Users are not beholden to any one vendor's roadmap, vision or timeline. If they need to change a feature, migrate or roll out new services, they can do that by participating in the open source community and being part of the change. The ability to access source code, add features, and fix code is fourth-ranked reason why users choose to use open software. Ninety five percent want open source in their SDN and Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) solutions. It offers them greater choice, more functionality and interoperability, and lower costs[8].

6.    Adaptability
While 63 percent of technology start-ups fail within four years[9], open source is not tied to any one individual vendor. Over 1,000 companies have contributed to Linux. The open source development model allows software to adapt quickly to changing times. Legacy and emerging protocols can be implemented if so desired. Open source SDN can evolve as the industry does.

7.    Choice
There is no silver bullet in networking. A variety of solutions are used to solve different needs. With open SDN, users can pick what works for them versus the one-size-fits-all approach of proprietary software. Today there are over a million open source projects with over 100 billion lines of code, contributed by 10 million people.

8.    Interoperability
Most businesses use solutions from more than one vendor to fill their needs. A common, open source platform means solutions can be interoperable and offer the choice of the right solution versus getting locked-in to a single solution that doesn't meet all needs.

9.    De-facto standards
By speeding software development cycles, open source solutions become de facto standards that dovetail nicely with standards efforts. Over 100 additional companies join the Linux effort each year.

10.  Maximize ROI
Open source costs less up front, and is easier to scale over time versus a proprietary system that adds more cost and complexity as it grows. So avoid costly vendor lock-in. The 2014 Future of Open Source found this can be a prime reason for moving to open source software. According the survey, 68 percent find that open source helps to improve efficiency and lower costs.


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