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Open Compute Project (OCP) Formally Accepts Open Network Linux (ONL)

Big Switch Networks to Contribute ONL to Accelerate Adoption of Open, Standards-Based Software Platform, Speed Pace of Innovation in Switch Hardware

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– Press Release –

Open Compute Project (OCP) Formally Accepts Open Network Linux (ONL)

Big Switch Networks to Contribute ONL to Accelerate Adoption of Open, Standards-Based Software Platform, Speed Pace of Innovation in Switch Hardware

SANTA CLARA, CA– (Mar 10, 2015) – Big Switch Networks, the company bringing hyperscale networking to data centers worldwide, today announced that the Open Compute Project (OCP) has formally accepted Big Switch’s contribution of Open Network Linux (ONL) as its reference Network Operating System (NOS). ONL is a Linux-based open source network operating system to bare-metal and branded white-box (“brite box”) switches.

In addition to supporting commercial products, ONL was initially created as the base hardware-testing reference platform for DIY hobbyists and researchers. ONL currently supports 12 different open switch hardware platforms and basic L3 routing, and also has an OpenFlow agent based on OF-DPA and the Indigo project in progress.

Big Switch Networks’ contribution — Open Network Linux (ONL) — is the Linux distribution for bare-metal switches that runs underneath Big Switch’s commercial Switch Light OS™. ONL’s goal is to give people deploying OCP switches a simplified experience with a standard Linux distribution that comes prepackaged with all of the relevant drivers, loaders, and platform-independent benefits.

The project has expanded from its original scope and now counts contributions from Accton Technology CorporationInterface Masters TechnologiesPica8, and QCP (Quanta Cloud Technology), as well as from academics and individual open source enthusiasts.

As ONL gains traction and becomes a popular distribution for open network hardware, it will result in less integration work for hardware and software vendors, fewer bugs, and increased reliability once ONL-based products are shipped to end customers. In fact, ONL has already started to receive kernel patches and contributions from other vendors, including Cumulus Networks.

Included with ONL is the Linux kernel (currently v3.9.6), multiple drivers, installation scripts, and a netboot-capable bootloader — all customized for a variety of bare metal switch devices. ONL can be installed on any bare-metal hardware that supports the newly standardized Open Network Install Environment (ONIE). ONL also includes several advanced features that were built out over the course of Switch Light OS development, such as file system overlays to minimize the number of writes to the flash memories and the ability to boot switch images remotely over the network. It ships with example forwarding agent code, both for L3 routing as well as an OpenFlow agent.

The open source community believes that a common switch Linux distribution like ONL is an important step forward for the industry to accelerate bare-metal adoption and drive cost savings for open hardware. If adoption of ONL is any indication, the days of proprietary, vertically integrated, and closed vendor stacks are numbered.

“Watching partners and competitors alike come together for common benefit around Open Network Linux is an amazing example of the power of open source,” said Rob Sherwood, CTO of Big Switch Networks and project founder. “ONL is an important step forward for the community to accelerate bare-metal adoption and drive cost savings for open hardware.”

Supporting Quotes:

“Open Network Linux is exactly the type of project that we like to see in Open Compute. It was volunteer-led by Big Switch Networks and is solving a real problem. Plus, as evidenced by its supporters, it’s also bringing the community together.” – Corey Bell, CEO at Open Compute Project.

“We have been working closely with the Open Network Linux (ONL) foundation and we believe that the ONL open source project plays an important role in providing the much needed flexibility and fostering innovation in the open hardware ecosystem,” said Eli Karpilovski, Director of Product Marketing at Broadcom. “Broadcom is supporting the Open Network Linux open source project by contributing our new Open Network Switch Library (OpenNSL), which provides openly published APIs that enable the integration of new applications and the ability to optimize switch hardware platforms.”

“The availability of essential, foundational components in open source in a networking stack fosters rapid learning and deployment,” said Dan Pitt, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation. “The Open Compute Project has broken new ground in the area of open-source hardware, and switch operating systems that natively support SDN capabilities like OpenFlow bring this beneficial technology closer to both vendor and operator adoption.”

“Big Switch Networks’ contribution of Open Network Linux and the increasing momentum of the Open Compute movement is additional validation of Dell’s Open Networking strategy announced last year,” said Subi Krishnamurthy, CTO, Dell Networking. “ONL will help to accelerate adoption of Dell Open Networking switches with Big Cloud Fabric and Big Tap Monitoring Fabric and provide choice to customers.”

“With the rise of cloud and DevOps methodologies, we’re seeing increased interest in network disaggregation. Customers — especially organizations where Linux has been widely adopted — can derive significant operational efficiencies by running Linux on a variety of network hardware,” said Brad Casemore, director of research for Datacenter Networks at IDC. “In formally accepting Open Network Linux (ONL) as reference network operating system, the OCP and its contributors are ensuring that the open networking community can easily leverage bare-metal switches and explore the range of benefits that network disaggregation can offer.”

“ONL is yet another example of how the networking industry is disaggregating software from hardware,” said Olivier Vautrin, Head of Product Management at Pica8. “With a growing ecosystem of Linux-based switching OSs available, network managers can take control of their networks and address key challenges in agility and application support.”

“An open architecture for the data plane delivers freedom of choice, cost-effective scale, flexibility and greater innovation for the end users,” said Guru Parulkar, executive director of ON.Lab and ONRC. “Open Network Linux (ONL)’s entry into Open Compute Project (OCP) helps advance the standardization and adoption of OCP’s data plane architecture. ONL also provides an important building block in realizing our vision for a reference open ecosystem with ONOS as the open carrier-grade SDN control plane, open applications such as ONF’s peering router running on ONOS and an open data plane comprised of ONL, Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) and Open Compute hardware.”

“Open networking solutions provide a low cost and flexible infrastructure aligned to our customers’ operational requirements, because a set of standard hardware and software platforms enable the rapid development of value-added functionality by the operator, vendor and open source communities. Therefore, Edge-Core has ported ONL, the OCP-approved open-source NOS platform, to our 1Gbe, 10GbE and 40GbE open network switches to accelerate adoption of open networking in data center, telecom and enterprise networks.” – George Tchaparian, CEO of Edge-Core Networks and GM of Data Center Networks at Accton Technology.

“Interface Masters is excited to team up with Big Switch and support the Open Network Linux and leverage the hardware independent software and utilities. Being part of the first proposed OCP switch platform, we believe that with the ONIE concept, in conjunction with standardization of the network operating system, white box software will become easier to implement and deploy.” – Ehud Yuhjtman, President of Interface Masters.

“Agema Systems, one of leading open switch providers, is proud to be a part of the OCP ecosystem and to support Open Network Linux on our AG-7448CU and future data center devices.” – Jay Huang, President, Agema Systems, Inc.

“We are big believers in the advantages of open hardware; we’re pleased to support Open Network Linux on our multiple switch platforms. The maturity and depth of the ONL ecosystem gives us the confidence to leverage ONL for our QuantaMesh bare-metal switch product line. ONL gives QuantaMesh customers a simplified network deployment experience, backed by the confidence of running a standard Linux distribution.” – Mike Yang, General Manager, QCT (Quanta Cloud Technology)

Open Network Linux is available for immediate download from under the Eclipse 1.0 and GPL 2.0 public licenses.

For more, check out Big Switch CTO Rob Sherwood’s blog post: Attention World: The Network Is Now Open!

Tweet this: Great news – @OpenComputePrj accepts Open Network Linux as its recommended Network Operating System. More info:

About Big Switch Networks®

Big Switch Networks is the market leader in bringing hyperscale data center networking technologies to a broader audience. The company is taking three key hyperscale technologies — open Ethernet switch hardware, sophisticated SDN control software, and core-and-pod data center designs — and leveraging them in fit-for-purpose products designed for use in enterprises, cloud providers, and service providers. The company’s Big Tap Monitoring Fabric is an advanced SDN fabric solution to monitor existing networks, and the flagship Big Cloud Fabric is the industry’s most advanced bare metal switching fabric intended for new data center pods such as private cloud, big data, and VDI. For additional information, email, follow @bigswitch, or visit

Big Switch Networks, Big Cloud Fabric, Big Tap, Switch Light OS, Switch Light vSwitch, and BSN Labs are trademarks or registered trademarks of Big Switch Networks, Inc. All other trademarks, service marks, registered marks, or registered service marks are the property of their respective owners.

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