The trio intends to show an open source data-center switch OS that lets hyperscale operators use ONL with pluggable forwarding agents.
“What we’re going to demo on Friday is pulling all of those components together in a single distribution, so it’s a full end-to-end open switch OS,” says Big Switch co-founder Kyle Forster. “It’s all based on the OCP components underneath.”
The demo will take place during the Open Compute Project (OCP) Engineering Workshop in Boston.
Facebook led the charge behind OCP four years ago and started a networking track in 2013. Forster says the OS demonstration is a milestone because while the OCP networking community has received a lot of code from different sources, “it’s actually taken a huge amount of engineering effort to get all of that code to play nicely together.”
One of the key features of ONL is the pluggable forwarding agents, which are split out from platform codes. Friday’s demonstration will feature Facebook’s Wedge switch running Big Switch’s ONL with three pluggable forwarding agents: NTT Communications’ GoBGP (which uses ONL’s Open Route Cache infrastructure), Big Switch’s OpenFlow and Facebook’s FBOSS.
Shared platform code provides consistency and test coverage while forwarding agents determine data plane features and network designs. Allowing network operators to pick their preferred forwarding agents expands the number of end users capable of running open source switch software in their networks.
ONL was contributed to OCP earlier this year by Big Switch, which has been active in OCP for almost two years. The hardware compatibility has grown to include more than 15 open switch hardware platforms used in hyperscale data centers, including Wedge.
OCP vs. OpenSwitch
On Monday, HP announced the launch of a new open source community, called OpenSwitch, for developing a new network operating system. Forster says OCP/ONL and OpenSwitch “come from very different roots and have very different architectures.”
“I don’t know how the two projects are going to relate to each other going forward, but it’s going to be a very interesting interplay between the open source community and the market,” he says. “It’s fun to have a front row seat for that.”