The OCP’s 3rd regional summit in Amsterdam’s RAI centre was a resounding success by every measure. Attendance increased by 9% to 700 visitors, with those visitors hailing from 38 different countries. There were executive talks, engineering workshops, case studies, project working groups and new product announcements from the likes of Inspur and Wiwynn. While videos and slides for all these sessions are available on the OCP’s website nothing can really replicate attending to get a feel for the way the OCP and industry is shifting, and the shift was noticeable. Read the Open Compute Project - Part 1 here.
There were 4 main things that I took from the Summit which I will talk about in this blog:
- Everybody loves SONiC
- Edgecore’s Innovation continues
- TIP and OCP to expand partnership
- The Circular Economy from ITRenew
Everybody loves SONiC
I have talked about SONiC in previous blogs but for anyone still in the dark, it is an open source network operating system created by Microsoft. Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC) was built using the SAI (Switch Abstraction Interface) switch programming API and has been adopted unsurprisingly by Microsoft, Alibaba, LinkedIn, Tencent and more. The speed at which adoption is taking place is phenomenal and new features are being added to the open source project all the time, like integration with Kubernetes and configuration management. It is now supported on 92 platforms, 23 of these since the OCP Summit in San Jose March!
It is one thing Alibaba and Microsoft moving to SONiC, but it is also starting to appeal outside of the hyperscalers. Big Switch Networks have an offering for Service Providers, SAAS and Cloud Providers whereby SONiC is integrated with ONL (Open networking Linux) creating a NOS designed for L3 fabrics with configuration, automation and monitoring using Big Switch’s SDN controller. Mellanox are also offering what they call A2P (ASIC-to-Protocol) support for SONiC on their hardware, even offering training and a certificate program. Other companies like Apstra and XCloud Networks are supporting SONiC and provide automation and analytics to make adoption a far more palatable experience. It will be interesting to see if the early adoption pace can continue and if enterprise will embrace it.
Edgecore’s Innovation Continues
Much like last year, Edgecore were by far the busiest exhibitors at this year’s summit and it is of little surprise. Edgecore’s first contribution was the AS5712-54X 10G Open Networking Switch in 2014 and this has been the most viewed item in that time on the OCP’s Marketplace. They have contributed 17 original designs which is far more then any other networking ODM and have 32 products available in the Marketplace. What was noticeable by their new products on view was that while Edgecore are still innovating for the Data Center, their focus is firmly outside this now and in the Communications Service Provider (CSP) space. The products on display were:
DCSG-Odyssey – Edgecore’s disaggregated cell site gateway is a 1RU fully-featured cell site router with a wide range of Ethernet connectivity options for client and network sides. As a cell site gateway, DCSG supports Layer-2, Layer-3 and MPLS features - with native time-synchronization protocols such as IEEE-1588 v2 and Synchronous Ethernet for the mobile base stations.
AS7716-24SC (Cassini) – This is the Cassini Packet Transponder and it enables network operators to easily extend and migrate existing metro and long-haul Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) networks to add new 100G capacities and extend inter-data center and Layer-3 services.
ASXvOLT16 - The ASXvOLT16 is a 16-10G-port XGS-PON virtual Optical Line Terminal (vOLT) with 4 x 100G/40G QSFP28 ﬁxed ports. The 10G ports, 100G uplink ports, and console/management USB ports are all on the front panel. All 10G ports operate at wire-speed by default and support standard XGS-PON transceivers.
MiniPack AS8000 - Edgecore's Minipack AS8000 switch is a disaggregated open network system providing a flexible mix of 100GbE and 400GbE ports with a system capacity of up to 12.8Tbps. Minipack is ideal for next-generation high-capacity data center fabrics, internet exchanges, and high bandwidth service provider infrastructures with the flexibility and cost benefits of open networking.
AS7926-40XK – The Edgecore AS7926-40XK and AS7926-80XK service provider router designs provide 40 x 100GbE QSFP28 ports and 80 x 100GbE QSFP28 ports respectively, with deep packet buffers, TCAM for route scaling in carrier networks, synchronization features including IEEE1588 and SyncE, NEBS compliance, AC and 48VDC power options, and compatibility with standard long and short range pluggable optics required for edge and aggregation networks.
This is just a snapshot of the new devices Edgecore have designed and built over the last few years. Well worth checking out their full range of Open Networking Data Center and CSP devices here.
TIP and OCP to Expand Partnership
Collaboration is key to everything in the open source and open networking world. The OCP announced that it was going to tighten its partnership with TIP (Telecom Infra Project) recently which I think will see benefits for both organizations, and makes complete sense when you look at the environment. There are huge areas of overlap between the two, therefore, combining efforts and creating a structure that will allow projects move from the OCP to TIP and then back again will be hugely beneficial and speed up the process from design to actual implementation.
Let’s use Edgecore’s disaggregated cell site gateway as an example here. The first stage for Edgecore is to submit the OCP specifications and this in turn leads to design files, which in turn finally leads to an OCP-accepted product. The only problem here is that the product is pretty much useless unless it is embraced by TIP and some of the big carriers decide that they want to work it into their networks. This can take years of work but once completed the product can then finally return to the OCP Marketplace and add value to it. CORD, SEBA and other projects from the ONF have similar overlap with hardware from the OCP and the same will hopefully happen here.
The Circular Economy from ITRenew
The most informative and interesting talk of the 2 days came from Ali Fenn who is CIO at ITRenew. The talk was about creating a global circular IT hardware industry that will allow companies to maximise the financial and sustainability value of their hardware by allowing them to have secondary or tertiary lifecycles. Just to give you some idea of the scale of e-waste globally, in 2016 we produced 49 million tonnes, which equates to 1,000,000 full 18-wheel trucks. This could stretch from New York to Bangkok and back again. We are also running out of some of the materials to produce our electronic components, the result of which will more than likely see us mining the sea floor in the future. Some of the statistics that Ali showed were striking when looking at future consumption of electricity and CO2 emissions and I would advise anybody with an interest in this area who wants to know more to check out their website. You could save money and the planet at the same time!
As always, I would be more than happy to share additional resources with you or for more technical information on products or SDN give me a shout also you can browse our Open Networking products here.
Slán go fóill,
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
IoT – Internet of Things
5G – 5th generation of cellular mobile communication
Linux – Family of free open-source operating systems
ONF – Open Networking Foundation
OCP – Open Compute Project
SDN – Software Defined Networking
Edgecore – White box ODM
Quanta – White box OEM
Data Plane – Deals with packet forwarding
Control Plane – Management interface for network configuration
ODM – Original design manufacturer
OEM – Original equipment manufacturer
Cumulus Linux – Open network operating system
Pluribus – White box OS that offers a controllerless SDN fabric
Pica8 – Open standards-based operating system
Big Switch Networks – Cloud and data centre networking company
IP Infusion – Whitebox network operating system
OS – Operating system
White Box – Bare metal device that runs off merchant silicon
ASIC – Application-specific integrated circuit
CAPEX – Capital expenditure
OPEX – Operating expenditure
MAC - Media Access Control
Virtualization – To create a virtual version of something including hardware
Load Balancing – Efficient distribution of incoming network traffic to backend servers
Vendor Neutral - Standardized, non-proprietary approach along with unbiased business practices
CORD – Central Office Rearchitected as a Data Center
SD-WAN – Software Defined Wide Area Network
NFV – Network Function Virtualization
RTBrick – Web scale network OS
Snap Route – Cloud native network OS
MPLS – Multiprotocol label switching
DoS – Denial of service attack
ONOS – ONF controller platform
LF – Linux Foundation
MEC – Multi-access edge computing
Distributed Cloud -
COMAC – Converged Multi-Access and Core
SEBA – SDN enabled broadband access
TRELLIS – Spine and leaf switching fabric for central office
VOLTHA – Virtual OLT hardware abstraction
R-CORD- Residential CORD
M-CORD – Mobile CORD
E-CORD – Enterprise CORD
PON – Passive optical network
G.FAST – DSL protocol for local loops shorter than 500 metres
DOCSIS – Data over cable service interface specification
BGP – Border gateway patrol routing protocol
OSPF – Open shortest path first routing protocol
DSL – Digital subscriber line
Container – Isolated execution environment on a Linux host
Kubernetes – Open source container orchestration system
Docker – Program that performs operating-system-level virtualization
Cloud Native – Term used to describe container-based environments
CNCF – Cloud Native Computing Foundation
API – Application Programming Interface
REST API – Representational State Transfer Application Programming Interface
CLI – Command Line Interface
VM – Virtual machine
NAT – Network Address Translation
IBN – Intent Based Networking
TORs – Top of Rack Switches
RHI – Route Health Injections
BCF – Big Cloud Fabric
VPC – Virtual Private Cloud
ONIE – Open Networking Install Environment
CI/CD - Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment
SONiC – Software for Open Networking in the Cloud
SAI – Switch Abstraction Interface
CSP – Communication Service Provider
DCSG – Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway