Dell, Nokia throw their support behind SONiC ecosystem

networking
Dell Technologies and Nokia announce new SONiC-based implementations during this week's OCP Virtual Summit. (Pixabay)

Dell Technologies and Nokia both announced on Tuesday that they were putting their considerable heft behind SONiC implementations.

While Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC) has been around for years, it has primarily been used by large webscale companies and cloud providers that have the IT resources to build, deploy and support it.

The SONiC ecosystem has been filling up of late. Last week Arista Networks announced its new SAI (Switch Abstraction Interface) that allows customers to deploy SONiC software on Arista's switching platform. In addition, Cisco and Juniper Networks have previously announced their support for SONiC

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SONiC was originally developed by Arista, Broadcom, Dell, Mellanox, and Microsoft as a means to improve network switch operations. Microsoft subsequently contributed SONiC into the Open Compute Project (OCP) in 2016 to further its development and reach.

In addition to Microsoft and OCP, SONiC is also supported by LinkedIn, Alibaba and Tencent.The broader SONiC community, inclusive of network hardware along with white box, software and ASIC vendors, is working in the areas of multitier Layer 3 Clos routing—such as leaf-spine-spine core—designs, automation, telemetry, and orchestration.

For its part, Dell Technologies announced "Enterprise SONiC Distribution," which integrated SONiC into its Dell EMC PowerSwitch Open Networking hardware for a commercially supported version of SONiC that can be used by enterprises.

“Our customers tell us that, while a hybrid cloud approach is critical to their success, they struggle to maintain and scale their networks, and manage them to effectively avoid multiple points of failure,” said Dell's Tom Burns, senior vice president and general manager for integrated products and solutions, in a statement. “By breaking switch software into multiple, containerized components, we are providing enterprises the means to drastically simplify the management of massive and complex networks and increase availability in a cloud model.”

Working with Microsoft, Nokia has developed a chassis-based SONiC implementation focused on the requirements of high capacity data centers.

“We are pleased to be working with Nokia as part of the SONiC initiative," said Microsoft's Yousef Khalidi, CVP Azure networking, in a statement. "Their contributions to the community on chassis-based SONiC are raising the bar on what is possible and what is needed. We are happy to see networking suppliers like Nokia, with over a million routers deployed, contributing to our community.” 

The Open Compute Project's OCP Global Virtual Summit kicked off on Tuesday and will run through Friday.

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