OpenSwitch finds critical home at Linux Foundation

Linux Foundation goes all in on open-source network operating system project

hp data center
Credit: Reuters/Stephen Lam

The OpenSwitch Project took a significant development step this week when it became the first full feature network operating system project of the Linux Foundation.

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The move gives OpenSwitch a neutral home where it can receive all the necessary support for long-term growth and sustainability – including back-office, technical infrastructure and ecosystem development services, said Michael Dolan, VP of Strategic Programs at The Linux Foundation.

While the Linux Foundation hosts other projects in the networking space, the addition of OpenSwitch makes available a complete NOS solution, from the ASIC drivers to the APIs,’ that will run on reference hardware and in hypervisors, he stated.

“The main benefit of hosting OpenSwitch at The Linux Foundation is the organizational, promotional and technical infrastructure services provided to make the project successful. With a neutral home and ability to easily collaborate with complementary projects, technologies and members, OpenSwitch can focus on advancing the open networking stack,” Dolan said.

For customers the move to a Linux Foundation project means that they can be assured that OpenSwitch will be available from multiple vendors, and that technical support options are available from multiple sources, decreasing risk and costs, Dolan added. The OpenSwitch software and sourcecode remain available at openswitch.net. Vendors and OEMs will make "powered by OpenSwitch" hardware available via their existing customer channels.

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HP in October married Intel, Broadcom, Accton and VMware to pursue community-like participation in the development of a Linux-based OpenSwitch NOS. Network World wrote at the time: The effort is seen as an opportunity for HP to develop and own a viable data center NOS to better compete in that market with the likes of Cisco and Arista. HP announced arrangements with Cumulus Networks and Pica8 to resell or support their respective data center NOSes, but the market is important enough for HP to attempt to develop and own something akin to Arista’s EOS, a modular and extensible switch operating system that is key to the company’s data center networking success.

OpenSwitch’s design offers interoperability with other enterprise-scale open source technologies such as Ansible and OpenStack, and is able to integrate with open source technologies including Broadcom Broadview, Grommit, LLDPD, P4, OpenVSwitch, and Quagga.

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