Predictably Releasing Down the Periodic Table with OpenDaylight Aluminum

By September 28, 2020Blog, OpenDaylight

From: Abhijit Kumbhare, OpenDaylight TSC Chair

The OpenDaylight community is pleased to announce the availability of the 13th release of the most widely deployed open source SDN controller platform, OpenDaylight Aluminum!

Since aluminium itself is one of the most abundant metals, the release received an abundance of improvements, as well as some much needed, new features.

Learn more details of the release here.

On this milestone, I thought I should reflect on a couple of choices regarding the release cycles made by the OpenDaylight community that have contributed to the project’s longevity over the years.

In the early days of OpenDaylight, the ODL TSC decided that it was highly desirable for consumers that ODL have a predictable release schedule. This way companies could plan their product development or deployment schedules around the OpenDaylight releases.

The first choice communities have to make around predictable release schedules is the naming convention. Instead of deciding the name of a release sometime during the release, we decided to have it based on something predictable. Being a community of scientists and engineers, led in those days by Dr. David Meyer, the Chief Scientist at Brocade, we settled on the elements of the periodic table. The release name would always be the name of the element with the same atomic number as the release number.

The next choice for predictability was a promise to ourselves that we would release twice a year. During the first few years, we came up with bottom-up schedules based on typical software release milestones. This, unfortunately, resulted in a roughly a 7-9 month cycle for each release. We observed that among the contributing factors to this variability was that the holiday cycles would line up differently for each release. Hence after the Carbon release we decided that we should simplify our milestones to make it a 6-month cycle. Additionally, we decided to align the milestones so that we have one release at the end of March and another release at the end of September.

The first of this March-September release cadence was Nitrogen released in September 2017. I am pleased to say that Aluminum marks 3 full years of this predictable release cadence!

Since the release names are based on the periodic table which have around 118 elements, with twice yearly releases, we are almost guaranteed to not run out of the names for the next 50+ years! We’re looking forward to many more releases by the OpenDaylight community and we welcome you to join us.