Earlier this year, Dell announced its collaboration with Microsoft on Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC). SONiC is a collection of open source software networking packages/modules that can be installed on Linux on a network hardware switch which makes it a complete, functional router. Dell’s collaboration with Microsoft is intended to encourage the open source community to innovate, collaborate, adopt and contribute.

Today, Dell strengthens this collaboration by announcing significant contributions to the key building blocks of the SONiC architecture. We are also announcing that Dell has open sourced all of its software components in OS 10 Open Edition under the SONiC project in OCP. These enhancements are intended to elevate the platform, reinforce the synergy between the SONiC contributors, and provide maximum value to the development community.

Dell offers a new object model schema to SONiC along with PAS (Platform Abstraction Services) and NAS (Network Adaptation Services). Platform Adaptation Services interacts with the hardware components of the switch such as power modules, fan trays and LEDs. Network Adaptation Services provides APIs to program the NPU/ASIC that support SAI standard ASIC SDK. These contributions can be found here. The following wiki provides further information on this submission.

Figure 1:- Existing architecture showcasing NAS and SwSS

Dell’s OS10 Open edition has been extensively tested to ensure integrity. This open edition acts as a building block of the commercial version of Dell’s Networking System (OS10 Enterprise Edition). For more information about OS10 Open Edition and access to architecture documentation, installation instructions please visit – OS10 Open Edition Documentation

SONiC currently offers two ASIC switch control software components namely, Switch State Services and Network Adaptation Services.

 

The NAS (ASIC switch control software) version comes with a full feature set including

  • Layer2
  • Layer3
  • QoS
  • ACL 
  • Monitoring using sFlow.

The roadmap includes completion of integration of SONiC with OS10 Open Edition by the end of 2016. Dell welcomes the community to follow the integration effort closely in the existing SONiC forums. For more information about SONiC, and access to community resources please visit https://azure.github.io/SONiC/.

 

Figure 2: Target SONiC High Level Architecture

SONiC allows end users to rapidly prototype control plane applications and design purpose-built data centers, thus optimizing overall network design. Today’s SONiC feature set is focused on the datacenter. The move to open networking allows end users to focus on developing applications and opens the door to groundbreaking innovations.

We welcome the participation of the open source community and we look forward to seeing SONiC being adopted to accelerate growth in the networking Industry. Together we can build network switch software and provide an open platform for applications to grow through the adoption of a disaggregated network stack.   

You can learn more in my first blog on the topic here, and be sure to follow @DellNetworking for future updates.