A Note from Neela Jacques

By February 22, 2017Blog

A Note from Neela Jacques

It is with mixed emotions that I am leaving my role as Executive Director of the OpenDaylight Project to join Bain Capital Ventures as an Entrepreneur in Residence. I’m excited by this next opportunity to pursue my entrepreneurial passions, but sad to leave such a great community that has been at the forefront of open source and SDN. I am so proud of what we have achieved together over the past 3+ years.

When I joined OpenDaylight as the Executive Director in 2013, our work was cut out for us. We all knew that SDN was necessary and would happen, but there were significant challenges to overcome. Could we get the networking industry to work together and build an open platform that everyone would agree on? Could we build a strong community that developers would want to be a part of? And most importantly, would end users deploy it and embrace open source at the heart of their networks?

Our goal was to unify the industry by building an open source platform for programmable, software-defined networks platform that could be broadly adopted. While there is still more work to be done, I’m proud of the progress and achievements that we have made over the past four years. We brought together service providers, enterprises, vendors, systems integrators, users and app developers to create the largest open SDN project to date. We’ve established a mature governance where people can disagree but still work together to build an even better solution. Our developer community is active and strong; more than 900 developers contributed to the five releases of the OpenDaylight platform.

Most importantly, OpenDaylight has proved to the networking industry that open source can serve as the foundation of their production infrastructures. AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Bell and Canada in North America, Orange and Telefonica in Europe and China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent in China are members and/or users of OpenDaylight. We’ve seen large-scale production deployments by numerous major organizations including Tencent, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider project and AT&T, and OpenDaylight is the basis for solutions from Brocade, Ericsson, HPE and Red Hat among others.

On a more personal level, it is hard for me to express how much of a privilege it has been for me to lead this community over the past 3+ years. This role has given me a chance to get to know so many incredible engineers, technical and business leaders, and develop relationships across countries and cultures. I have been personally enriched by our interactions and proud of what we have been able to build, against steep odds, together.

I’m so proud to have been a part of the OpenDaylight community and grateful that you’ve trusted me to lead the project and serve as the voice for all of your hard work. I believe in this community, and I expect to stay engaged as I continue working with The Linux Foundation and the OpenDaylight Project as an advisor. I have full confidence in Phil Robb, our Board of Directors, TSC and technical leaders to be able to take the project to even greater heights. I look forward to cheering from the stands as OpenDaylight gets ever more deployed as the industry’s de-facto standard SDN platform.