Big Switch builds open source network operating system

Big Switch Networks describes itself as the cloud-first networking company.

The firm focuses on what public cloud-style networking matched with hybrid cloud consistency.

News this month sees the firm launch an open source network operating system.

Big Switch says that key points to zone in on here include automation, zero-touch provisioning and visibility.

The NOS itself is a combo integration of the Microsoft-led Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC) and Big Swith’s own Open Networking Linux (ONL).

In terms of visibility, this technology makes use of a DevOps-centric Ansible workflow and SDN-centric controller workflows.

NOTE: SONiC is an open source network operating system based on Linux that runs on switches from multiple vendors and ASICs — it offers a full suite of network functionality, like BGP and RDMA, that has been production-hardened in the data centers of some of the largest cloud-service providers.

“Leveraging SONiC and ONL to build an open source NOS combines the benefits of OCP’s two important open source software stacks, which are deployed in large-scale production networks,” said Prashant Gandhi, chief product officer, Big Switch Networks.

NOS commoditisation

Gandhi says that the emergence of SONiC coupled with ONL signals that lower layers of the NOS stack are being commoditised… and vendor-agnostic innovations will be moving to upper layers including multi-system automation, real-time telemetry, and predictive analytics.

According to 650 Group, the open networking market (excluding hyperscalers) is expected to reach $1.35 billion by 2023, so this is a tech zone with a strong compound annual growth rate.

SONiC has some arguably solid backing within the industry, including Microsoft, LinkedIn, Alibaba and Tencent, for deploying and popularizing an open-source NOS on open networking switch hardware.

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