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Diagnosis: ONOS Community Survey 2016

May 17, 2016

Guest post by Patricia Dugan from It’s The Community


Over the past month, I’ve lead an initiative focused on understanding the state of the ONOS, Open Network Operating System, community and its needs. With the support of David Boswell, Director of Community, Bill Snow, VP of Engineering and Guru Parulkar, Executive Director of ON.Lab, I’ve been interviewing the partners and collaborators participating in the ONOS mission to learn how the ONOS community can improve. Each interview is composed of 10 questions and dialogue around the partner and collaborator experience using ONOS, and of being an active participant in the ONOS community.

I am in the tail end of the interviewing process and compiling the data which will be used to create a summary report for distribution. However, the executive team at ON.Lab is eager to begin implementing changes based upon the feedback gathered thus far. With that, please find listed below, some of the main themes and commentary we’ve observed so far.

Positive feedback

There was a lot of positive feedback about the following things that are working well in the community.

Code quality

Great support

Use Cases

Fast growth

Quotes from the Community:

“ON.Lab leadership is doing a good job to make sure the ONOS project builds the right momentum and expands at the right level. Over all, I have the impression that now ONOS and ODL are the most talked about SDN controllers.”

“ON.Lab engineers deliver high quality code. The system is clean, well abstracted and well designed. I see many companies joining as coordinators and contributors. And, individual contributors in the community are joining as well. The ONOS community is progressing well. And, we expect with that effort we’ll see a bigger community participation down the road.“

“We’ve found the ONOS team very responsive and easy to work with.”

“As far as getting the code and downloading it, and getting the support: we have all that we need. From the beginning, the developers like Ali and Brian, they’ve all been amazing at providing support. The email lists are fantastic, if we have a question we email and they quickly answer them. Kudos to the development team because they are very supportive.”

“We are happy with the use cases. They are broad. ONOS has an opportunity to get experience and maturity from the different requirements of the use cases.”

“ONOS is growing fast. When we started a year ago, it was much smaller than now. It’s grown fast and we’re getting help from partners, collaborators from the community and that’s very good.”

Working to address the following issues

There was also feedback about areas where we could improve the experience of community members. Below each point are a few examples of the feedback received around this theme.

We need to increase transparency

We need to have better documentation and review technical procedures

We need to avoid ON.Lab staff becoming a bottleneck

We need to reduce barriers to contribution

Other relevant issues to work on

Quotes regarding areas for improvement:

“For partners who are contributing to ON.Lab, getting help or the encouragement to be able to contribute feels closed. This needs improvement.”

“The decision making process feels closed. It seems there are point to point discussions happening in a closed room without the entire community involved. Because of this, things can feel unpredictable. If the ONOS roadmap is unpredictable, then it’s hard to plan from our side.”

“The developers went down before ONS which was bad timing as everyone was exhausted. Don’t have engineers come before or right after ONS Summit as ON.Lab.”

“Error handling is a little bit weak. When it goes wrong it totally goes wrong.”

“There is a problem with error handling. Maybe some work on errors and what they represent would be good. Normalize it so it’s push button easy.”

“In the OpenStack community, they review not only the source code but the designs. They have contributors give a talk about what they want to contribute and reviewers or other engineers review it first. And, if their design is good, then they start to contribute source code. That kind of process is a good thing to adopt to ONOS.”

“It’s difficult to get engineers involved in ODL to contribute to ONOS also. That’s a challenge of ours is to get people to be involved in both, somehow. The ONOS project is exceptional.”

“We want a community which spans the mailing list, Slack channel, Facebook, and private blogs. It could be great for the ONOS community to have a blog which aggregates content from SDN enthusiasts around the world, who post solutions for problems. It would be good if an ONOS user could find this information easily. If ON.Lab becomes aware of all the freelance developers who are writing about their work with ONOS, that would be good. There are a lot of blogs with tutorials about SDN and ONOS which are helpful.”

“So far, there is no way to understand the roadmap, besides looking at the code. I don’t know what kind of mechanics you’ll provide to let the community know what the roadmap is, what the focus is for short and long term objectives.”

“It would be good to have different levels of tutorials. Right now, they are for entry level users. Tutorials provide an idea about what you can do with ONOS but sometimes if you want to develop a new application, the tutorials currently available may not be technical enough. We need tutorials for more skilled people.”

Next Steps

As mentioned, I’m still engaged in the tail end of this project which will wrap up interviews and create a summary document to distribute to the ONOS community. And, ON.Lab is now working on a set of recommended actions to address the items listed for improvement. Your input on how you think they should address these issues is highly valued. Please participate by sharing your thoughts in the comment section on this blog or by posting on the Community team list.

For a highly interactive and impactful ONOS community experience, be sure to join us for the next Community Steering Team (CST) Meeting on May 19/20. Direct member engagement is the best way to make sure this community is built with your needs at the core. Details on the Community Steering Team are listed on the wiki. I am a member of the CST and would love to get to know you via that forum. And, feel free to ping me on Twitter at @patricia_dugan. I’d love to stay in the loop on your projects and the progression of them! Thanks for your interest and participation in this project.

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