HP Launches Open-Source Network OS, Community

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2015-10-05 Print this article Print

However, during the company's Global Editor's Conference Oct. 5 in California, Cisco executives noted that the company is embracing open technology, with CEO Chuck Robbins noting that the company is seeing projects where its software is running on x86 servers. However, the levels of security and analytics needed in today's networking environments require high performance hardware that open systems may not be able to supply, Robbins said in a response to a question from eWEEK's Chris Preimesberger.

The CEO also questioned whether the growing number of competitors that are making branded systems that run third-party OSes can offer differentiation among themselves. Still, company executives said that they'll meet whatever requests the customer has.

"We don't have religion long-term where this plays out," Robbins said.

HP's Carroll said he looked around the industry at other network operating systems, but didn't see anything that addresses all the needs of the modern data center, from scalability to flexibility.

"We need to give something that scales," he said. "Otherwise, we're not really putting something out there that is not already there today."

That ability to scale is generating some attention outside of the initial target audience of enterprises, with hyperscale players showing interest, Carroll said. Companies like Facebook and Google have been developing their own hardware and software—including operating systems—to meet the needs of the Web-scale environments.

"The only reason they are in the [NOS] business is that they have to be," he said. "They're not interested in doing their own operating system across the board. They'd rather have somebody else do it."

The OpenSwitch NOS will include full support for Layer 2/3 protocols, an open-source cloud database for persistent and ephemeral configuration, with all intermodule communications going through the system database and a universal API approach, with support for CLI, REST, Puppet/Chef and Ansible.

Carroll said that as the OpenSwitch NOS is developed, HP will continue to offer Cumulus and Pica8 on its Altoline switches. He also said that HP eventually will look for a permanent home for the community.

"We're looking where it can land in the future," he said. "We have no interest in controlling it beyond being a contributing member. A large contributing member, but just another member."

The OpenSwitch Community is up and running now, and the first developer release of the NOS will come out in the first half of 2016, Carroll said, adding that he expects deployments in the second half of the year.



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