• United States
Senior Editor

SONiC test lab gains industry support

News Analysis
Apr 19, 20233 mins
Cisco SystemsLinuxOpen Source

Open Network Experience Center (ONE Center) for SONiC is being run by Aviz Networks with support from Cisco, Nvidia, Open Compute project, Supermicro, and others.

Two developers / programmers collaborate as they review information on a display in their workspace.

Enterprises that want to kick the tires on the open-source network operating system SONiC got a new option this week as Aviz Networks and a group of well-established industry vendors and organizations said they would collaborate on a new testing facility.

The lab, the Open Networking Experience (ONE) Center for SONiC is being offered by SONiC startup Aviz and will be supported by collaboration with the Linux Foundation, The Open Compute Project, Celestica, Cisco, Edgecore, Nvidia, Ragile, Supermicro, Wistron, and Keysight.

The center will feature online and in-person access at no cost for network operators to try out the capabilities of SONiC across a wide range of hardware, according to Aviz. 

Organizations will be able to experience SONiC running on multiple platform and ASIC combinations, Aviz CEO Vishal Shukla said in a statement.

ONE Center eliminates the need to purchase switches in order to explore SONiC, making it less costly for potential users to narrow down the best options for their specific needs, Shukla said.

SONiC—Software for Open Networking in the Cloud—is the Linux-based network operating system (NOS) that decouples network software from the underlying hardware and lets it run on hundreds of switches and ASICs from multiple vendors while supporting a full suite of network features such as Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), remote direct memory access (RDMA), QoS, and ethernet/IP. 

SONiC was developed and then open-sourced by Microsoft, which a year ago turned the project over to the Linux Foundation and its 450,000 developers. The vendor community supporting SONiC has been growing and includes Dell, Arista, Nokia, Alibaba, Comcast, Cisco, Broadcom, Juniper Apstra, Edgecore, Innovium, Nvidia, Celetica, and VMware. It has also been integrated with other open-source projects, including Kubernetes and Ansible.

Aviz offers Open Networking Enterprise Suite (ONES), the first of what it says will be a suite of software to manage SONiC networks.

From its SONiC-based controller, ONES supports zero-touch provisioning and configuration validation. It includes SONiC configuration templates for data-center leaf/spine configurations and supports standard networking technologies such as EVPN, VxLAN, and BGP. 

“The idea with ONES is, for the first time, to bring the tools enterprise customers can use to for multi-vendor orchestration, visibility, assurance, and 24×7 support in a SONiC network,” Shukla told Network World in a Decenmber Network Wolrd article.

ONES compiles a network’s hardware and software inventory by gathering telemetry from switches. It supports vendor NOSes such as Nvidia Cumulus Linux, Arista EOS, and Cisco NX-OS, as well as switches that utilize standard OpenConfig telemetry, Shukla said.

Cisco showed support for SONiC in September by rolling out SONiC Developer Sandbox which provides a Cisco 8000 emulator that lets customers build virtual network simulations (or labs) to experiment with new topologies, protocols, and configuration changes.

In the sandbox, customers can automate network tests through CI/CD pipeline integration, and learn more about SONiC and the Cisco 8000 line. The sandbox topology includes four Cisco 8000 routers that run SONiC and a Linux server that functions as a traffic generator.