SDN Technology

Mellanox Offers 'Lego' Approach to Network Components

Mellanox has unveiled its vision for Open Composable Networks, disaggregating hardware from software to improve flexibility and choice for network operators.

Mellanox Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: MLNX), which supplies interconnections for data center servers and storage, introduced its Open Composable Networks (OCN) platform at the Open Compute Project Summit on Monday. (See Mellanox Disaggregates Hardware & Software for Open Compute Project Networking.)

OCN supports a 10/25, 40/50 or 100Gbit/s network running Mellanox's Spectrum Ethernet switches which run multiple network operating systems and applications, including Cumulus Networks Linux -- which Mellanox announced support for today -- OpenSwitch, Metaswitch Networks IP Routing and Mellanox's own MLNX-OS, running on open software interfaces including OCP Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI) and Linux Switchdev.

Disaggregating network components into compatible modules with open, clearly defined abstraction interfaces enables network operators to use "best of breed building blocks" to customize their networks, Mellanox claims.

"We like to think of it as Lego," Mellanox VP marketing Kevin Deierling tells Light Reading. "We give you standard building blocks and standard APIs and the creativity is your opportunity to innovate. Just as hypercloud vendors are using this kind of infrastructure to build things out, we're seeing the same things go into enterprise data centers."

Mellanox also unveiled ConnectX-4 Lx 25 and 50Gbit/s Ethernet single and multi-host adapters for the OCP platform. The adapters allow performance upgrades for 10/25 and 40/50Gbit/s Ethernet networks without overhauling existing data center cabling infrastructure.

Mellanox provides network adapters for multiple OCP server and storage platforms including Yosemite, Leopard and Rackspace Barreleye, which is based on Open Power. (See Mellanox Introduces 25/50 Gb/s OCP Ethernet Adapters for Single and Multi-Host Technology.)

Want to know more about white boxes? Visit Light Reading's white box content channel.

Mellanox is not alone in its disaggregation vision, of course. The trend started years ago with white box vendors, such as Big Switch Networks and Pica8 Inc. , and it's now even spreading to staid networking giants like Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) and Arista Networks Inc. , all of which have made big disaggregation splashes since last year -- Cisco's latest being just last week.

Mellanox can differentiate through its OCP support -- though IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and Hewlett Packard Enterprise both supported OCP -- as well as support for multiple network operating systems.

Mellanox is the first of much news we're expecting out of OCP this week -- look to Light Reading for ongoing coverage.

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— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to [email protected]

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