Red Hat's Chris Wright: Telco Industry Poised for Open Source Disruption

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Chris Wright Red HatAs an OpenDaylight project board member and the technical director of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) at Red Hat, Chris Wright knows what it takes to launch a successful open source, collaborative project. He'll share some of what he's learned through his experience with OpenDaylight in his keynote presentation at Collaboration Summit, March 26-28 in Napa. Here he gives us a preview of the talk and shares his predictions on which industries are primed for disruption through collaborative development.

Linux.com: Is collaborative development the new model for open source business success, why or why not?

Chris Wright: The core of open source project success has always been collaboration. The ability to build a business around open source software relies on leveraging the innovation in collaborative open source software to deliver unique value to your customers. The danger is in not participating in the projects you rely on. You must retain some ability to influence those projects, else you risk being taken in directions that do not work for your business.

Can you describe the biggest challenge you've faced so far and how you overcame it?

Chris Wright: A big challenge I've faced was helping launch and build a community around an open source software-defined networking project, the OpenDaylight community. While I am only one of a cast of many, I hope my input has helped place this community on a path to success.  For me, success is measured by the vibrancy of the community, including both users and developers.  Therefore, all of my focus has been on creating openness, transparency, and a level playing field for all to collaborate.

Why is an open source, collaborative development model right for software defined networking?

Chris Wright: Open Source allows an industry to pool its resources to work on common infrastructure.  Software-defined networking, despite its many and varied definitions, includes some core infrastructure which supports a programming model for applications to manage networks. Having a common platform for these applications is the fundamental value of using an open source development model to build an SDN platform. The industry does not benefit from multiple reimplementations of the same core infrastructure.

What other industries or market niches are ripe for collaborative development and why?

Chris Wright: Any place you see a large market with significant overlapping interests there is a clear value for open source development.  A great example, one that's directly related to SDN, is emerging in the Telco industry, called Network Functions Virtualization (NFV).  Here the industry is interested in achieving the efficiency and agility you find in a modern datacenter or cloud, by commoditizing their infrastructure and moving the network functions currently trapped in hardware to a common pool of virtualized resources.