A Surge in the Importance of Alliances to the OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA)

/ / Consortium News, From the Chairs, OpenFabrics News

By Jim Ryan, Executive Director, The OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA)

The OFA is going through an exciting process of nothing less than reinvention. As you can imagine, there are many elements of this reinvention; the focus of this blog is on one such element: a new alliances program to enable us to leverage synergies among fellow-traveler organizations working in adjacent technical fields.

The OFA has a well-established track record of incubating software technologies for advanced networks; this new alliances program is designed as a key driver of our new mission, which is to accelerate the development and adoption of advanced network software technologies.

We already have a first, key success in establishing partnerships in the form of a new alliance with the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) – widely recognized as one of the most important organizations of its type in the industry. For additional information on our alliance with SNIA, read the official announcement .

This proof point is offered only to demonstrate our seriousness in establishing alliances and our ability to operate at a significant scale to jointly drive technical deliverables for the benefit of the industry as a whole.

The OFA’s Industry Alliance Program establishes a structure and methods for identifying, evaluating, and nurturing possible new alliances. In practical terms, the OFA’s Executive Director is charged with the twin responsibilities of identifying and reaching out to targeted organizations, and responding to outreach from other such organizations. Developing such a list and responding opportunistically to outreach is, in fact, the first step in implementing this project.

We’ve already developed a list of some obvious fellow travelers; the purpose of this blog is to encourage any of you with a potential interest in the OFA, but to whom we may not have reached out yet, to initiate contact with us.

The second step in the Industry Alliance Program process is for the OFA’s Executive Director, beginning with the germ of an idea, to assemble a small team from each organization to begin exploring the possible benefits of an alliance. The key is that any new alliance has to be grounded in specific technical work to be undertaken by the partners with benefits accruing to both organizations.

It should be obvious that we only proceed if there are benefits that accrue to both organizations and the broader industry.

The work product of this collaboration is the creation of a document that goes by a few names, “Work Register” or possibly “Statement of Work”. Whatever it’s called, it’s a very specific statement of the areas of activity we’ve identified to tackle together, again, to the benefit of both organizations and the broader industry.

The third step is for each organization to take the jointly-prepared document to their respective governing Board for approval.

Once approved, the fourth step of the project begins; the initiation of the actual work to be undertaken. The accomplishment of such work and reports to the respective governing boards are all part of this phase.

Keep in mind that the history of the OFA allows us to make some powerful claims as to what we bring to such a collaboration. One element is our ability to incubate and evolve open source software for fabrics.

The fifth and final phase of the project is to investigate joint marketing programs promoting each of the organizations, generally, and the specific work to be undertaken. To be completely clear, this happens *only* if there is agreed technical work to be undertaken. In our opinion, absent that, marketing makes no sense.

If this is of interest to you or you’d simply like to learn more, please contact me through the Industry Alliance Program page.