Open Networking and Support

I spent most of my drive back from Sacramento this afternoon recording thoughts about Open Networking, ONIE, Cisco, HP, Juniper, Brocade, Testing and Support.  It is going to take some time to go through and get all of the relevant data out, so I decided to put some of my talking points here.

1.) The ONIE on Nexus 9000 announcement/recall from Cisco is helpful to the Open Networking Community:

When any networking vendor and especially a large one like Cisco announces support for Open Networking, such as ONIE on the Nexus 9000 (even if it is just “roadmap”), it is a huge gain for the community.

There are multiple values to having ONIE available on hardware, the ability to load another NOS is just one of them.  One that gets overlooked is that ONIE allows customers to utilize the same deployment/testing bootstrap configuration across multiple systems.

While we would love to see Cisco support other NOS on their boxes, just supporting ONIE, even on the roadmap, is a huge step in the industry.

2.) The HP/Cumulus announcement is important not only to HP/Cumulus, it’s also valuable to the Open Networking industry in general and will lead to better Open Networking products.

While the announcement from HP can be simplified down to “HP will sell Accton switches running Cumulus Linux”, the benefits to the community are much broader.

The real story is between the lines: HP will _support_ Open Networking.  Having a vendor the size of HP provide support for an Open Networking platform is highly valuable to the Community.

In order to support the products, HP will be running Accton switches in their labs, doing PoCs and putting resource into testing, documentation and other important work.

While we know the hardware is good (end users via reselling have been running Accton, Quanta and other ODM switches for a long time), customers are still getting used to dealing with ODM equipment.  Having HP stand behind Accton while running Cumulus Linux is much bigger than the two companies.

3.) Junipers involvement in the Open Compute Networking Project is important.

By providing an open switch design and a version of JunOS that runs on Open Networking Switches, Juniper has put a solid name behind Open Networking.  Running JunOS on Linux (via KVM) is going in a direction that I believe the industry needs to move in. The move supports the concept that there can be a separation between the OS and the Network Applications.

I believe that differentiation in Open Networking will come from the Network Applications, not the hardware or base operating system.

4.) Coming back around to the announcement of ONIE on Nexus 9k.

Both the JunOS on Linux and Nexus NX-OS systems run on top of Wind River Yocto Linux.  Two different top vendors running on the same base OS provides another proof point to how open Open Networking devices could be.

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