The big idea was to develop a top-of-rack switch that could boot nearly any type of networking software using open hardware specifications. And now it appears that will put the fear of god into Cisco’s core business.
According to Ars Technica, Intel, Broadcom, Mellanox, and Cumulus Networks have contributed specs and software. Now it is just a matter of finalising the design.
Writing in his bog, Frank Frankovsky, VP of hardware design and supply chain operations at Facebook and head of the Open Compute Project said the the project is on track to “help software-defined networking continue to evolve and flourish”.
Chipzilla’s contribution includes a specification for a bare-metal, top-of-rack switch. This will be a 48×4 10/40G switch [48 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports and four 40 Gig ports and all necessary subsystems for switching, control CPU, peripherals, external interfaces, power, cooling, and mechanical enclosure.
Surprisingly for Chipzilla, the spec does not require Intel components, although it probably will have them in abundance.
Broadcom contributed a network switch specification of its own, which contains popular leaf and spine switch configurations and feature requirements.
This network switch specification is based on the widely deployed Trident switch architecture which happens to be a product made by Broadcom.
Mellanox has thrown in a top-of-rack switch specification, and Cumulus Networks is contributing its Open Network Install Environment which is a “network boot loader to install software on network switches”.
Others that might be miffed at the way that this switch’s is progressing are HP and Dell. This switch removes a lot of the software they insert into general-purpose products, making them cheaper and more efficient.
If successful, Arista Networks, and Dell’s Force 10 division will also find more competition in the market.
Facebook will be one user, but there are seven to 10 potential users of the open network tech, including Fidelity and Goldmine Sex.
Cisco claims it is “not bovered” by the Open Compute Project. It points to the fact it is involved in open networking projects such as OpenDaylight, which it thinks will defeat Facebook’s glorious alliance.