Monday, November 11, 2013

Open Compute Project Cites Progress

The Open Compute Project, which was launch by Facebook two years ago with a charter to revolutionize data center architecture, cited progress in opening up server, storage, and data center designs.

So far, the Open Compute Project has garnered more than 30 potential contributions, covering most of the network hardware stack and even some of the network software stack.  In a blog posting, the Open Compute Project highlights four contributions in particular, all of them currently being considered by the OCP Incubation Committee and likely to be accepted soon.

  • Broadcom's full specification for and implementation of an open switch -- "Broadcom has developed an Open Network Switch specification, addressing popular leaf and spine switch configurations and feature requirements, in compliance with the charter defined by the OCP networking initiative. The specification delivers the foundation for efficient, high performance, and flexible network architectures, complementing the goals of the OCP networking initiatives."
  • Cumulus Networks' Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) software -- "ONIE, which was introduced by Cumulus Networks and is supported by networking OEM, ODM, and communication silicon vendors across the globe, is an industry standard network boot loader to install software on network switches, thus enabling a bare metal Ethernet switch ecosystem. ONIE defines a runtime install environment that supports multiple network operating system vendors at scale that -- for the first time -- effectively provides customers more control and the ability to choose when it comes to their networking hardware and software. ONIE's open install environment can be supported on a range of existing ODM switches, as well as the open network switch design specifications being developed by the Open Compute Project, ultimately enabling end users to select among different network operating systems and a variety of compatible hardware."
  • Intel's specification for an open switch -- "Intel’s proposed contribution to the Open Compute Project network working group is a specification for a bare-metal, top-of-rack switch. The specification describes a 48x4 10/40G switch including all necessary subsystems for switching, control CPU, peripherals, external interfaces, power, cooling, and mechanical enclosure."

  • Mellanox's open switch -- "Mellanox is expanding its Open Compute Project portfolio offering with the proposed contribution of its SwitchX-2 x86-based top-of-rack switch specification. The switch supports 48 SFP+ ports and 12 QSFP ports, enabling non-blocking connectivity within the OCP Open Rack, or alternatively, enabling 60 10GbE server ports when using QSFP+ to SFP+ breakout cables to increase rack efficiency for less bandwidth demanding applications. The new switch will be the first to enable ONIE over x86, and we expect it to dramatically improve power consumption, latency, and density and enable larger, more efficient, and more cost-effective datacenter designs."

In May 2013, the Open Compute Project confirmed plans to develop an open, OS-agnostic top-of-rack switch.  The effort will be led by Najam Ahmad, who runs the network engineering team at Facebook.


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