Open Networking Foundation

What Does Open Networking Foundation Mean?

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is a user-driven organization dedicated to the development and implementation of software-defined networking (SDN). A noteworthy achievement of the organization has been its adoption of the OpenFlow Standard. ONF works with operators to leverage SDN for their customers and implement OpenFlow in their networks.


Techopedia Explains Open Networking Foundation

The term “open” is important to the philosophy of the ONF. According to an interview with the executive director, the concept includes the publication of documents available to all, the development of some kind of standard and the principle that the organization is not controlled by a single party. The aim is to avoid inflexible solutions and vendor lock-in.

Founded in 2011 by Deutsche Telekom, Verizon, Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Yahoo!, the ONF now includes over 150 member companies such as equipment vendors, service providers, software makers, and enterprise users of the technology. The idea is to give more of a voice to the commercial community rather than entrusting all the development to engineers within a technical standards body.

By fostering such a collaborative environment created by the organization, ONF participants work toward improvement of a networking solution that is neither proprietary nor controlled. ONF members have royalty-free access to OpenFlow, and information is freely shared during frequent meetings.


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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.