Open networking is a key element of the disruption in the networking industry. Consortiums such as the Open Compute Project and open-source software projects, as well as the rise of whitebox hardware, are creating new choices for engineers and architects in how they build and operate networks.
One aspect of open networking is disaggregation of switch hardware and the switch OS. A variety of switch operating systems are available, including open source and commercial versions.
Using the Open Network Install Environment (ONIE), a boot loader developed within the Open Compute Project, you can install and uninstall a switch OS on whitebox hardware.
In 2014, Dell announced that it would support third-party switch OSs on its own switches, including switch OSs from Cumulus Networks and Big Switch.
At DellWorld we sat down with Tom Burns, VP & General Manager of Dell Networking, to get an update on Dell’s open networking efforts, including support for additional switch OSs.
We also discuss the risks the company took in embracing the open networking concept, get details on the latest open switch in Dell’s portfolio, and consider the implications of HP’s recently announced open-source switch OS.