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ONS 2018 Q&A: Dan Rodriguez, Intel

Ahead of the much anticipated 2018 Open Networking Summit, we spoke to Dan Rodriguez, vice president and general manager of the Communications Infrastructure Division within Intel’s Data Center Group, about the future of open source networking and for a preview of his keynote. To learn more, don’t miss his presentation at ONS on Tuesday, March 27 at 1:50 p.m.


Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your involvement in the open source community?

In my role as vice president and general manager of the Communications Infrastructure Division within Intel’s Data Center Group, we guide the network transformation strategy for various market segments, including wireless core, edge, cable infrastructure, routers and switches and network security, among others. We focus on delivering processors, networking IP and software, and partner with many groups within Intel to deliver platform-level solutions, including field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), network interface controllers (NICs), solid state drives (SSDs) and others. Collectively we support network functions virtualization (NFV), and workload convergence on the path towards 5G.

Intel has an incredibly rich history supporting the development of open platforms, standards and the communities and ecosystems that shape them. We contribute time, resources and intellectual property to a wide variety of open source projects from OpenStack to the LF Networking Fund (LFN). Thousands of Intel developers contribute to over 70 open source projects, and we are recognized as one of the top contributors to the Linux Kernel.

What is your perspective on the current status of the shift toward open source networking and how it’s impacting- or set to impact – the industry? Your business specifically?

Based on our historical commitment to open source projects, it’s safe to say we fully support open networking initiatives. In addition to historical precedent, there are many objective reasons why these projects are vitally important to Intel, its partners and the broader industry.

Every network virtualization initiative offers the promise of delivering new services based on open, standards-based hardware and software. This is important for the rapid development of commercial solutions that deliver incredible performance and support the reduction of CapEx and OpEx for communication service providers (CoSPs). By striking the right balance between performance and cost, the industry can rationalize significant investments in network transformation efforts.

Open networking initiatives will help achieve the balance I described, and we’ve seen momentum with many projects through increasing membership, new frameworks and benchmarks, successful collaborations and more. As with other open source projects, there will be a snowball effect where each breakthrough builds on prior success and feeds the next wave of innovation.

Intel’s relationship with the LFN is essential to the development of common reference architectures for NFV and SDN that benefit from the latest Intel Architecture platforms. Our product development roadmap incorporates input from our existing Intel Network Builder partner ecosystem and the broader industry through organizations, such as LFN.

Where do you see your role — and that of LFN— in terms of the broader end-to-end open networking stack?

Our role is to help the community develop a complete hardware and software stack that supports CoSPs in network virtualization efforts. Understanding that each company may have a different idea of what success looks like, we want to deliver solutions that are flexible enough to support broad industry success. Open networking is one of the best ways to make that happen.

What is your involvement or use of LFN projects? What are some of the benefits you/your clients/customers are realizing from deployment?

As platinum members of the LFN, we are very active across many of the founding projects including, OpenDaylight, ONAP, and OPNFV.

Our software contributions focus on optimizing the use of the underlying hardware (CPU, memory, NIC) within the Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) project and Fast Data project ( as well as participating at the orchestration and controller level.

All of these initiatives focus on important technologies, architectural and process components and use cases. After a period of intense focus and growing success, we agree the time is right to bring the core networking projects under one umbrella. This creates stronger connections and efficiencies across projects and allows the organization to take a long-term, strategic view of the opportunities and challenges ahead.  The Cross-community Continuous Integration (XCI) effort working across the multiple LFN projects (ONAP, ODL, OPNFV, is a case in point in bringing closer collaboration and increasing efficiency within the LFN projects.

What are you most looking forward to at ONS 2018?

ONS 2018 offers us a great opportunity to connect with customers and partners and learn about the trends and concepts that matter most to them.

In addition to my presentation on the “Journey to Transformation,” there are numerous Intel folks who will share their perspectives on topics ranging from 5G, edge computing and machine learning to OPNFV Verified, network automation and containerization.

Can you give us a preview of what you’ll be talking about onstage at ONS 2018?

We, as the industry, have made great progress in moving the market to a more flexible and nimble network in order to get ready for the massive amounts of data generated by billions of connected devices. We need to continue evolving network transformation with NFV and Cloud-ready solutions as we migrate to 5G. We are only in the middle of the journey. Intel continues to invest in technologies innovations while actively participating in open communities and collaborating with ecosystem partners on the journey of network transformation.

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