Making Open Work
May 8–9, 2017: Training & Tutorials
May 10–11, 2017: Conference
Austin, TX

Transforming telecommunications through open source software

William Snow (Open Networking Lab)
2:35pm3:15pm Thursday, May 11, 2017
Location: Ballroom E
Level: Non-technical

Who is this presentation for?

  • Developers, community managers, and executives

Prerequisite knowledge

  • A basic understanding of open source
  • Familiarity with the telecommunications industry (useful but not required)

What you'll learn

  • Understand two successful case studies of building open source communities which are capable of transforming an entire industry
  • Explore the work of the Open Networking Laboratory


The telecommunications industry’s major network operators and vendors have not traditionally engaged with open source. Now, under pressure to transform their networks to support mobile devices and the demand for video and with a desire to deploy services in days or weeks, not in years, this is changing. William Snow tells the story of how Open Networking Laboratory has transformed the industry through open source.

Networking was the bottleneck. Servers had virtualized; storage had virtualized—but not networking. Stanford and Berkeley solved part of the problem with the concept of software-defined networking (SDN). Out of their work came a way to change the architecture of the network—and an opportunity to leverage open source to do it. The nonprofit Open Networking Laboratory was founded to build tools and platforms (and the communities around them) to help operators build better networks and get the most out of the SDN revolution. This work is now supported by 6 of the world’s largest network operators and 10 vendors.

The first platform to come out of the Open Networking Laboratory was ONOS (the open network operating system), which provides the infrastructure to easily program a network in a DevOps model (open-sourced in December 2014). The second was CORD, (the central office rearchitected as a data center), which was initially built as a use case in ONOS but grew so rapidly it recently became its own open source project. Both are Linux Foundation collaborative projects, and in less than two years, the two projects have added 16 partners, 75+ collaborating organizations, and a community of over 500 people.

Join Bill to learn where the industry is headed next.

Photo of William Snow

William Snow

Open Networking Lab

William Snow is the vice president of engineering for the Open Networking Laboratory (ON.Lab), where he is responsible for all engineering and operations and leads the teams providing core engineering to the ONOS and CORD projects. Previously, Bill spent over 25 years in the industry building development teams and delivering innovative products. He has led engineering teams for both startups and public companies in the networking and security spaces and was responsible for the routing and high-availability teams delivering the Cisco CRS-1 as well as the Centillion LAN switching product line prior to Centillion’s acquisition by Bay Networks. Bill holds a BS in electrical engineering from Cornell University, an MS in electrical and computer engineering from Stanford University, and an MS in engineering management from Stanford University.