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A Blueprint for Building the OpenContrail Community

by Juniper Employee on ‎04-14-2017 12:54 PM

One of the initiatives I was asked to lead when I joined Juniper Networks late last year was to map out the plan for building a diverse, engaged developer community around the OpenContrail project. This blog post is a quick update on our progress.


TL;DR: Juniper is engaged with key users to push OpenContrail even further ahead of other technologies while mapping out the community engagement plan.


The purpose of this effort is to address a major need: The OpenContrail community can be improved. We can increase the corporate diversity of upstream developers, we can amplify the voice of users in the roadmapping process, and we can broaden the application use cases for the core technology. We can do all these things while maintaining the wide technological and production-readiness lead that OpenContrail has created over alternative technologies.


Oddly, OpenContrail has been resource challenged largely due to its successes. Here’s what I mean: OpenContrail is found in the world’s largest SDN deployments at the largest carriers. It is the most battle-hardened SDN in use at scale, and that’s why OpenContrail is the #1 in SDN for OpenStack. All this means that an incredible amount of engineering work went into features, fixes and improvements. As with all technology endeavors, compromises were made, and one of those compromises was community management.


Another reality is that OpenContrail began its life as Contrail, the proprietary creation of a startup by the same name that was acquired by Juniper Networks in 2012. It was open sourced under the Apache 2.0 license in 2013. Since then, Juniper and a few, key contributors outside the organization have focused on building the project.


These factors are starting to change. We are working diligently towards leveling up our game in enabling the project’s community. Here’s a quick rundown of what else Juniper is working on to make the OpenContrail community a place that encourages and empowers both upstream contributions and the voice of the user:


  • Hiring a dedicated community manager to drive community engagement and act as a dedicated conduit into Juniper
  • Hired a highly visible open source advocate and expert to drive strategy (yours truly)
  • Hired a dedicated team of open source developers to work on community-specific efforts, including:
    • 100% dedicated to open source with no responsibility for product feature delivery
    • Currently in the process of handing off packaging and container management from Contrail engineering
    • Re-factoring and cleaning up packages, containers and plugins to various other projects
    • Looking at contributing to and helping with acceptance of community-contributed code in OpenContrail
    • Committing code to other adjacent ecosystems (e.g., OpenStack-Helm, OpenStack, Kubernetes)
  • Working through logistical issues around how code is upstreamed


Most importantly, I have been actively talking to members of the community, gathering information on what has worked and what hasn’t and helping the Contrail team to craft a long-term open source and community building strategy. As I’m thinking about Juniper’s open source community strategy, I’m bringing in lessons learned from OpenStack, Project CoprHD and elsewhere.


The reality is that not all open source communities are built the same way. Not all of them succeed due to following a cookie cutter approach. Some open source projects need no formal community or foundation to succeed. MySQL comes to mind, which never had a foundation, but there are many others. In fact, the default for most open source projects is an informal community. Other open source projects are largely dominated by a single contributor with an ecosystem of secondary developers, like Puppet, Chef, MongoDB, Ceph and many others. In Ceph, for example, all of the top contributors are from RedHat. The issue isn’t that one company currently dominates the OpenContrail community. The issue is that we haven’t discovered what kind of community we want to be yet.


Early reactions to this game plan have been positive. Last week, I spent time with a major OpenContrail user, syncing up with key executives and engineers who lead that company’s internal cloud efforts. The purpose of that meeting was to bring them up to speed on all of the changes in the pipeline for the OpenContrail community. Reactions were favorable and engaging—precisely what you want when kicking off a community strategy. Amongst a variety of joint efforts we’re working on with OpenContrail, users are co-presenting at upcoming conferences and co-development in both OpenContrail and OpenStack-Helm.


Finding the “OpenContrail Way” is a journey. We are taking the first steps toward shaping what the community will look like, and those who participate will be part of the journey and help shape the future of OpenContrail. We want everyone who wants to participate to engage fully. Together, we will make OpenContrail better, improving processes for governance and upstream contributions while improving tools for packaging, containers, build/release, CI/CD and more.  


Join us today, and together we’ll make the best open source SDN for carrier-grade performance

even better. I’m here to help and make certain this community is what we all want for the future.

by gianpietro
‎04-30-2017 06:00 PM - edited ‎04-30-2017 06:00 PM

Good to see these efforts just when I'm starting working with Contrail Smiley Happy
All the best !

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About the Author
  • Prior to Juniper acquisition, Ankur was the Founder and CEO of Contrail Systems Inc - a pioneer in standards based network virtualization and scale-out networking software. Ankur has over 15 years of experience in building world-class networking products and leading high performance teams. Prior to Contrail, Ankur served as Chief Technology Officer and VP of Engineering at Aruba Networks, where he played critical roles in the rapid expansion of team, products, and global businesses. Before Aruba, Ankur helped drive Juniper’s initial entry into and expansion of the Ethernet Switching market. Ankur received his MSEE from Stanford University & BSEE from the University of Southern California.
  • David Noguer Bau is the head of Telco Vertical Marketing at the SP Strategic Marketing team in Juniper Networks. He has extensive experience in Service Provider network evolution and regularly runs executive sessions with technical and marketing teams of important telecom operators to accelerate the adoption of virtualisation. David is based in Barcelona and has over 15 years of experience in the telecommunications sector. Prior joining Juniper Networks, Mr. Noguer Bau spent seven years at Nortel where he was a Business Development Manager specializing in Carrier Ethernet and Broadband areas. Before Nortel he worked at Eicon-Dialogic as Technical Manager in Spain. David has been the Country Marketing Chair at Metro Ethernet Forum for Spain. Mr. Noguer has wide experience speaking at international Conferences. He was graduated as Computer Engineer by Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) and has an executive MBA from EADA Barcelona and executive education at the Thunderbird School of Global Management (Arizona) and the Henley Business School (UK). The views expressed here are my personal opinions , have not been reviewed or authorized by Juniper Networks and do not necessarily represent the views of Juniper Networks.
  • Donyel Jones-Williams is the Director of Service Provider Product Marketing Management overseeing all of Juniper's Service Provider Products for Juniper Networks. In this role, he leads all of the internal and external marketing activities for Juniper with respect to routing, automation, SDN and NFV. Prior to joining Juniper Networks in January 2014, Donyel was a Senior Product Line Manager for Cisco Systems with in the High End Optical Routing Group managing product lifecycle for multiple products lines helping telecom providers operate efficiently and effectively including; ONS 155xx Product Family, ONS 15216, ONS 15454 MSTP, Carrier Packet Transport Product Family, ME 2600x, & ASR 9000v. He also negotiated favorable agreements with 3rd-party vendors furnishing components and parts and conducted both outbound and inbound marketing (webinars, case study-development, developed and delivered both business & technical at Cisco Live 2005-2012). Donyel graduated from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. While attending Cal Poly SLO he was a collegiate student athlete playing football as a wide receiver and a key member of the National Society of Black Engineers. Donyel is now an active volunteer for V Foundation.
  • Remarkably organized stardust.
  • Jennifer Blatnik is vice president of cloud, security and enterprise portfolio marketing at Juniper Networks with focus on enterprise deployments of security, routing, switching, and SDN products, as well as cloud solutions. She has more than 20 years of experience helping enterprises solve network security challenges. Before joining Juniper, Jennifer served multiple roles at Cisco Systems, Inc., including directing product management for security technologies aimed at small to medium enterprises, as well as supporting managed services, cloud service architectures and go-to-market strategies. She holds a B.A. in Computer Science from University of California, Berkeley.
  • Jerry oversees all aspects of OpenLab which serves as a catalyst to spark the development of new innovative software applications or solutions that leverage the power of SDN/network programmability and intelligence. OpenLab is unique within Juniper and with its polished facility, globally accessible lab, and educational programs – such as the SDN “hackathons,” it serves as a tool for customer, partners, and academia. Prior to this position, Jerry led the development, management and marketing of the company’s strategic partnerships for video/unified communications, optical networking, and content/media delivery. In addition to handling the day-to-day oversight of the partnerships, he established new cross-partner go-to-market processes to drive and manage joint field opportunities. Before joining Juniper, Jerry led the Lucent Technologies application hosting/service provider marketing organization. He has over 25 years of experience in the data networking field with a focus on strategic alliance development, marketing, and technical field support. Jerry possesses a BS degree in Computer Science from St. John’s University in New York. He is active as a Juniper ambassador within the technology and academic community which includes advisory board positions with both NJIT and Rutgers in New Jersey.
  • I have been in the networking industry for over 35 years: PBXs, SNA, Muxes, ATM, routers, switches, optical - I've seen it all. Twelve years in the US, over 25 in Europe, at companies like AT&T, IBM, Bay Networks, Nortel Networks and Dimension Data. Since 2007 I have been at Juniper, focusing on solutions and services: solving business problems via products and projects. Our market is characterized by amazing technological innovations, but technology is no use if you cannot get it to work and keep it working. That is why services are so exciting: this is where the technology moves out of the glossy brochures and into the real world! Follow me on Twitter: @JoeAtJuniper For more about me, go to my LinkedIn profile:
  • Mark Belk is the National Government Chief Architect at Juniper Networks
  • Mike Marcellin is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, leading the global marketing team responsible for marketing Juniper’s product and services portfolio and stewarding the brand, driving preference for Juniper in the market, training our partners and account teams, and developing a differentiated information experience for our customers. Before joining the global marketing organization, Marcellin led business strategy and marketing for Juniper’s industry-leading portfolio of high-performance routing, switching and security products. Prior to joining Juniper in 2010, Marcellin served as Vice President of Global Managed Solutions for Verizon, where he oversaw product development and marketing of its managed IP networking, hosting, security and IT solutions for businesses around the world. He also served as Vice President of Global Product Marketing for Verizon Business, executive director of Verizon Business’ IP and Ethernet portfolio as well as leading the company’s eCRM marketing division. Marcellin began his career with MCI in 1994. Marcellin is a Board Member for the Telecommunications Industry Association and a Board Member of US Ignite, an NSF-sponsored initiative. Marcellin holds two patents and was a Rodman Scholar at the University of Virginia, where he received a bachelor of science degree with distinction in systems engineering. He is based in Sunnyvale, California.
  • I love the intracacy and intimacy of succesful communications. Why and how people engage with each other is fascinating. I am also consumed with the way IT changes behaviours, values and expectations in society. I bring this sense of wonder to my role in EMEA Service Provider Marketing Programs at Juniper Networks. Down time: My passions are music, reading, politics, Derby County and playing the guitar (and the harmonica). You can follow me elsewhere: twitter: @neilpound my personal blog: my LinkedIn account: Neil Pound
  • Paul Obsitnik is Vice President of Service Provider Marketing for Juniper Networks Platform Systems Division (PSD), responsible for the marketing of Juniper’s portfolio of high performance routing, switching, and data center fabric products to Service Providers globally. Paul's team is responsible for marketing strategy, product marketing, go-to-market planning, and competitive analysis worldwide for the Service Provider segment. Obsitnik has extensive experience in marketing, sales and business development positions with a proven track record in creating technology markets. He has served in senior marketing and sales management positions at several companies including BridgeWave Communications, ONI Systems, NorthPoint Communications and 3Com. Paul holds a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Electrical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Business. Obsitnik is based in Sunnyvale, California.
  • Praful Lalchandani is a Product Manager at Juniper Networks focussing on the Data Center portfolio. Praful is a seasoned veteran in the networking industry, with experience spanning over 15 years building networking products and helping service providers, cloud providers and enterprises with their networking requirements.
  • Pratik Roychowdhury currently leads product management for Juniper's SDN and Cloud Software product namely Contrail. He has been with Juniper Networks for the last six years, leading product management activities for Juniper’s Network Virtualization and Network Programmability products and taking some of these products from concept to release. Overall, Pratik has spent 16+ years in the hi-tech industry assuming various roles including product development at Citrix, strategy & product management at early stage start-ups, and technology investment banking at UBS. Pratik has a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology and an MBA from Univ of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ross School of Business).
  • VP of engineering, Juniper Networks & founder, AppFormix Entrepreneur and founder with successful exits from two networking startups. Sumeet holds more than 20 patents with technologies implemented in shipping products and has received numerous awards from organizations as diverse as MIT and Interop. His AppFormix team at Juniper Networks is shipping an automated, real-time monitoring environment that uses AI and machine learning to autonomously mitigate application and network function issues before they impact QoS or user experience.