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Big Switch, Facebook, NTT Demo Integrated Open Source Networking Stack

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Santa Clara, CA – The Open Compute Project has helped Facebook to save more than $2 Billion, and has become a focal point of open initiatives for data center infrastructure. While numerous open source networking components have been contributed to the Open Compute Project's networking track, on October 9th a joint demo from Big Switch Networks, Facebook and NTT will mark the first integration of these disparate components into a unified, open source switch operating system: Open Network Linux.

A unified, open source switch operating system will expand both the developer and user community, and reduce the time required for new community members to get OCP networking running.

Open Network Linux was originally contributed to OCP by Big Switch Networks, a Gold level member.  Hardware compatibility has grown to include 15+ open switch hardware platforms used in hyperscale data centers, including Facebook’s Wedge switch and the Accton 5712/6712.  

One of ONL’s key software innovations - pluggable forwarding agents - is accelerating the convergence of disparate software development efforts in the hyperscale networking community on to a common OS platform.  The demonstration and code repository will show pluggable forwarding agents including:

By using Open Network Linux as a base, disparate open software initiatives in the hyperscale data center networking community can share the same 'platform' code while using different versions of ‘forwarding agent’ code.  While some forwarding agent code projects are open source, others are closed projects held as trade secrets by some hyperscale operators.

Shared platform code ensures consistency and test coverage in areas like cable/optics compatibility, operational statistics, front panel LED behavior, SNMP behavior, environmental sensors, fan drivers, etc.  Forwarding agents, on the other hand, determine dataplane features and network designs.  The choice provided by this pluggable architecture significantly expands the number of end users capable of running open source switch software in their networks.

By demonstrating applicability to NTT's EVPN use case, this demo is testament to the vision that this software/hardware stack using different forwarding agents can be applied for purposes well outside of traditional data center switching.

Big Switch Networks

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