Recently, vendors have been utilizing open source platforms to develop closed proprietary solutions. In a move to counter this activity, the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) unveiled the Open Innovation Pipeline (OIP). The OIP was created within the merger arrangement between ONF and the Open Networking Lab.

According to the announcement from the organizations, the OIP will “tap into network virtualization work behind software-defined networking, network functions virtualization and cloud technologies, with those contributing work into the OIP being able to benefit from inclusion into ON.Lab’s Open Network Operating System project and central office re-architected as a data center platform, and vendors gaining access to operator deployments.”

Using these open platforms to create closed solutions provides little, if any, advantage to the broader Internet environment. The ONF’s Open Innovation Pipeline will work against this trend by “offering greater returns to members who participate in the ONF’s collaborative process.”

According the to the announcement, the ONF also said it plans to promote interoperability with diverse components of the open source ecosystem by using a software defined standards approach to developing interoperability application program interfaces and data models.

“It is very important to us that all the pieces of this new ecosystem can play well together and we see this expanded focus as central to enabling the crafting of solutions from the disaggregated components now taking shape across the industry,” explained Timon Sloane, VP of Standards and Membership at ONF.

The aforementioned merger of ONF and the Open Networking Lab has been in the works for a while, officially announced in October of 2016. The new combined entity will exist under the current ONF name. It will be headed by by Guru Parulkar, ON.Lab founder and Executive Director. The merger will likely not be fully complete until later in 2017, and each entity will remain focused on focused on SDN and open source platforms until completed.

While collaboration and cooperation is at the root of our Modern Paradigm for Standards, allowing open platforms to be used to create proprietary solutions or standards does not provide the necessary collaboration and openness that open standards thrive upon. Standards specifications must made accessible to all for implementation and deployment. Industries moves like this one are a step in the right direction.

What do you think about both the merger and collaborative initiative? Do you think it serves to effectively combat the issue at hand?