Facebook-Led Open Compute Project Takes Aim at Networks
In addition, the Linux Foundation's OpenDaylight group and the Open Networking Foundation—both pushing open standards and common platforms for SDN—are participating. Work on the OCP's networking project will begin at the consortium's Engineering Summit May 16 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. Almost every established networking vendor—from Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks to Hewlett-Packard and Extreme Networks—is pushing its own SDN initiative. A growing number of startups, like Big Switch, also are looking to establish themselves in the growing market, which IDC analysts said could hit $3.7 billion by 2017. SDNs aim to remove the network intelligence from physical switches and routers and house it instead in software-based controllers, making networks more flexible and scalable and easier to program. The OCP is aiming to create a specification and a reference box that can be used for an open top-of-rack switch that is also OS-agnostic. Many vendors have their own networking operating systems—for example, IOS for Cisco and Junos for Juniper—but OCP's goal is to enable businesses to design their own switches that can run whatever software is desired. "It's our hope that an open, disaggregated switch will enable a faster pace of innovation in the development of networking hardware; help software-defined networking continue to evolve and flourish; and ultimately provide consumers of these technologies with the freedom they need to build infrastructures that are flexible, scalable, and efficient across the entire stack," Frankovsky wrote. "This is a new kind of undertaking for OCP—starting a project with just an idea and a clean sheet of paper, instead of building on an existing design that's been contributed to the foundation—and we are excited to see how the project group delivers on our collective vision."