Open Compute Project Gets a SONiC Boost

The Open Compute Project (OCP) held its 2016 U.S summit this week, with member organizations coming forward with new technologies to advance the state of the open data center.

From a networking perspective, the single biggest new development is the contribution of the Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC). Led by Microsoft, SONiC is an effort that comes to OCP with the support of multiple vendors.

“SONiC is a collection of networking software components required to have a fully functional L3 device that can be agnostic of any particular Linux distribution,” the SONiC Github project page states. “Today SONiC runs on Debian.”

SONiC was formerly known as Azure Cloud Switch (ACS) and is already in use inside of Microsoft’s production data centers.

The SONiC platform is built on top of the the Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI) announced at the 2015 OCP Summit. SAI is an abstraction layer for switches that enables a common API interface across network operating systems.

Dell is contributing its OS10 networking software to be a base for SONiC and is supporting the effort overall.

“SONiC is envisioned to be used in Microsoft Azure, and we expect to see more cloud providers adopt SONiC into their data centers,” Adnan Bhutta, Director of Global Strategy at Dell Networking, wrote in a blog post. “With Dell and other collaborators delivering several enterprise feature improvements to SAI, and SAI being the building block for SONiC, it is easy for enterprise customers to also realize its potential for their networking needs. “

Mark Russinovich, CTO of Microsoft Azure, is also very optimistic about how his company’s contributions can help the industry as a whole embrace Software Defined Networking (SDN).

“True to its name, SONiC is about cloud speed and scale – and because it can easily extend with other open source, third party or proprietary software components, it can ultimately speed time to market and greatly improve datacenter efficiencies,” Russinovich wrote.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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