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Daylight project: Big bucks to contribute to open source controller

Vendors in the secretive SDN-based Daylight project are devoting significant resources to building an open source controller.

Mystery continues to surround the cloaked software-defined-networking Daylight project, which reportedly is due to unveil itself at the Open Networking Summit next month. But one thing is certain: Only a very exclusive club of vendors are contributing to the project.

Any company that wishes to join and contribute behind the scenes to the Daylight project has to pay a $500,000 membership fee and agree to dedicate 20 engineers full-time to the Daylight project, according to Mat Matthews, founder and vice president of marketing at SDN startup Plexxi.

According to SDNCentral, core members of Daylight -- including Cisco, IBM, HP, Citrix and NEC -- are working to produce an SDN controller that will be open-sourced under an Apache 2 license. These companies are rapidly bringing their intellectual property and engineering talents together to assemble something within six months.

Dedicating 20 employees is nothing to a company like Cisco, but most SDN startups would find that requirement impossible.

"That's a third of our company," Matthews noted when discussing the number of engineers a Daylight member must commit. Nonetheless, Plexxi is "actively pursuing ways to be involved in Daylight." He would not confirm or deny whether his company is currently a member.

SDNCentral says that one startup, Big Switch Networks, is joining Daylight. Of course, no one will comment because every company that has joined has signed a nondisclosure agreement that is so strict that no one will even acknowledge whether their company is a member.

While whatever Daylight produces will be open source, bear in mind that open source doesn't automatically set something as a standard technology. Reportedly VMware is not involved with Daylight. It's moving forward with NSX, the new network virtualization platform based on Nicira's Network Virtualization Platform and VMware's own vCloud Networking and Security. That platform could compete directly with whatever Daylight produces. A war may be brewing.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Shamus McGillicuddy, News Director.

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