OpenSwitch debuts another software release and announces new members

OpenSwitch's new OPX 2.3 software is an enterprise-grade composable networking solution for white-box switches. (Pixabay)

OpenSwitch (OPX) announced the availability of a new software release today and welcomed new project members to its ecosystem.

OpenSwitch, which is a project under the Linux Foundation's umbrella, was designed as a switching software platform based on the OPX open source network operating system (NOS). OpenSwitch's new OPX 2.3 software is an enterprise-grade composable networking solution for white-box switches. The latest version includes enhanced automation capabilities and extended OPX compatibility to new families of hardware platforms.

OpenSwitch mirrors the business and cost models for white-box hardware and disaggregated software that have been used with routers and in compute environments.

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"So in essence what we are trying to do over here at OpenSwitch is follow the server model," said Alley Hasan, OpenSwitch's governing board chair, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "In the server world, you have the server and the operating system and then the application residing on top. The operating system more often than not is Linux or Windows, and that is our vision of how the networking world should evolve. With OpenSwitch you have a standard operating system like Linux and then applications coming on top.

"We went down the path of making it more consumable by adding more platforms to it. Towards the early part of this year we introduced the concept of micro features on OpenSwitch, which is in essence just disaggregating the software stack."

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Built as a scalable, cloud-ready platform, OpenSwitch software implements flexible infrastructure to help network operators, vendors and enterprises onboard open source NOS applications. With backing from the likes of Dell EMC and Metaswitch, OPX 2.3 supports Layer 2 and Layer 3 features that are compatible with various 10G, 25G, 40G and 100G hardware platforms from multiple vendors.

New features on OPX 2.3 include SNMP support, upgradability via standard Linux advanced packaging tools and persistent configuration. OPX 2.3 offers support for remote authentication and remote access control by adding remote authentication dial-in user service and terminal access controller access-control system plus features. Support for those features enables network operators to maintain user profiles and access logs in a central database that all remote equipment could share. They also provide better security and control from a single administered network point. 

OPX 2.3 also adds support for two new platforms from Dell EMC: S5148F-ON, based on Cavium XPliant programmable ASIC, and S4200-ON, based on Broadcom Qumran ASIC.​

"From the features standpoint, we now provide the full features for Layer 2 and Layer 3 processing," said Alik Fishman, OpenSwitch's marketing chair, in the interview with FierceTelecom. "We also support the extension of OPX with other commercial stacks such as Metaswitch. One of the key achievements of OpenSwitch is that it's probably the first open source-based NOS that is actually being deployed in technical infrastructures and telco environments."

Other vendors that are onboard with OpenSwitch include Cavium, Broadcom and Apstra.

Verizon Connect, Metaswitch and Inocybe were the latest members to join OpenSwitch. Verizon Connect and LinkedIn are currently the only service provider members, although Vodafone and SK Telecom are engaged with OPX.

"We would love to have more service providers in OpenSwitch to help us drive the community and the projects," Hasan said.

OpenSwitch was founded by Hewlett-Packard in 2014, and it was folded into the Linux Foundation the following year. Dell became a seed contributor to OpenSwitch near the end of 2016, according to Fishman. In addition to its technical contributions, Dell EMC also backs OpenSwitch by providing sales and support for distribution.