Liaison statement
Liaison between ONF and IETF

Submission date 2012-06-06
From ONF (Dan Pitt)
To The IETF (The IETF Chair)
Cc The IESG, Joel M. Halpern,
Response contact Dan Pitt
Purpose For information
Liaisons referring to this Relationship between ONF and the IETF
Attachments (None)
From: Dan Pitt, executive director, ONF
Subject: Liaison between ONF and IETF

ONF ( was established to promote Software
Defined Networking (SDN) by creating a forum for users and vendors to
discuss all aspects of SDNs, to create technical specifications and
standards, and to evangelize SDNs to the networking industry and its
customers. ONF’s scope spans data planes, control planes, and
management planes, enabling programmability and management of the SDN.

ONF's first task has been to standardize the OpenFlow protocol, the
lowest level building block upon which SDN networks can be built.
OpenFlow conveys flow-based forwarding information from a logical
entity called a controller (or network operating system), which
embodies the control-plane intelligence, to the network switches, which
actually forward the packets based on directions received from the
controller. The OpenFlow protocol therefore represents the controller’s
southbound interface, and a protocol is indeed necessary because the
switches and controller are assumed to be physically and geographically

The controller’s conceptual northbound interface permits other software
entities representing such factors as policy, security, traffic
engineering, and energy management to influence the controller’s
determination of flow paths. ONF has not yet standardized the
controller’s northbound interface, or determined its nature, and so it
is too early to standardize orchestration of SDNs controlled via ONF

We in ONF are very interested to discuss potential SDN use cases
developed by the IETF with a view to demonstrating how these can be
expressed with ONF constructs, possibly as direct functions of the
controller. ONF is further interested in the IETF’s orchestration of
existing, stable non-SDN data and control planes that already have
stable northbound interfaces (e.g., SNMP MIB, Netconf/Netmod).

We recommend that ONF and IETF work together on SDN specifications,
under the ONF framework of chartered ONF Working Groups (via mailing
lists, wikis, and conference calls), ONF discussion groups (via mailing
lists, wikis, and conference calls), and the ONF Technical Advisory
Group (for oversight). 

ONF specifications will use and interact with IETF standards, such as
Netconf and BFD. As ONF develops SDN specifications, ONF will work with
IETF to bring requests for additions and changes to existing IETF
specifications, and for new code points, as the need arises.

ONF further believes there would be considerable benefit if code points
defined in ONF specifications are assigned from registries managed by
the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority). We would like to
discuss with you the best way to achieve this.

Finally, ONF is interested in discussing cross-publishing future
specifications at the IETF, and would welcome a discussion on how best
to accomplish this as well.

Dan Pitt
Executive Director
Open Networking Foundation
Palo Alto, California
m. 617-803-5938