Facebook, Google, and Big Switch Networks at this week’s Open Compute Project (OCP) Summit will demonstrate three approaches to network operating systems all built with Open Network Linux (ONL) and all running on OCP switch hardware.
ONL is a Linux distribution for bare metal switches. It’s one of OCP’s several open hardware projects and is available on 68 different hardware platforms.
It’s the single largest open source project in OCP with contributions from more than 30 different organizations, said to Kyle Forster, founder of Big Switch Networks.
“ONL is increasingly becoming the de facto standard for switch hardware platform-level code,” Forster wrote in an email to SDxCentral. “With this demo, it is now public that it is getting used in Facebook’s FBOSS and Google’s Stratum projects, the largest end-user open source network projects in the industry.”
Tomorrow, at the annual OCP Summit in San Jose, California, teams from all three companies will demo Google’s network operating system (NOS) supporting P4 Runtime, Facebook’s FBOSS-based NOS, and Big Switch’s BGP-based concept NOS. All three can perform Layer-3 networking, according to Big Switch.
Specifically, the Google demo shows this with centralized software-defined networking (SDN) controllers and P4 programming; the Facebook demo shows this with the Thrift protocol; and the Big Switch demo shows this with an industry-standard BGP protocol.
The demonstration uses modular, interchangeable software and hardware components. It shows how hyperscale data center operators and networking vendors are moving “up the stack,” and increasingly opening up hardware and operating systems components code at the bottom of the stack, Forster said.
“Open/R from Facebook is explicitly built for extensibility so advanced networking logic can be integrated in to their overall data center automation systems,” he said. “The P4 controller approach from Google follows the same logic. Big Switch has been doing this with its commercial products for enterprise users, and now showing a Linux/BGP-centric approach for the at-scale community who look for Linux-style management to integrate with their own Puppet/Chef/Ansible/Salt and custom approaches for networking integration.”
The Facebook-Google-Big Switch demo “foreshadows the roadmap of the industry,” Forster added. “Inventions in the hyperscale community trickle out to the at-scale community in the form of best practices and open source projects, then are re-aggregated in to vendor products for the enterprise,” he explained.
Also at the OCP Summit, Big Switch will launch its ONL Certified Gold program that provides continuous validation of ONL versions on designated brite box and white box platforms. Its purpose is to provide assurance to organizations adopting ONL of complete code validation.