HP Launches Open-Source Network OS, Community
The vendor, along with such partners as Intel and VMware, is launching OpenSwitch to help bring scalability and flexibility to networks.Hewlett-Packard made a strong entrance into the growing open networking field earlier this year with the release of its Altoline of switches, enabling customers to buy the branded systems and run third-party software on top of them. Now the tech company is expanding its efforts in the space, leading the launch of a Linux-based open-source network operating system (NOS) that will give networking vendors, developers and customers the ability to more easily optimize their networks for the rapidly changing demands being put on the data center. HP officials on Oct. 5 unveiled the OpenSwitch community and NOS, joining with such partners as Arista Networks, Broadcom, Intel, VMware and Accton Technology, an original design manufacturer (ODM) that HP is working with in making the Altoline switch family. Mark Carroll, CTO of HP Networking, told eWEEK he expects more tech vendors will quickly join the community. The thrust behind OpenSwitch is the need for an open NOS that can help enterprises and service providers address the growing need for scalability, flexibility and vendor independence in data centers that are under pressure from a digital economy that is always on and is generating massive amounts of data, according to Carroll. The need to scale comes from the rapid increase in network traffic, while networks need to be flexible enough to change directions on demand to meet the changing business needs. An open NOS that isn't tied to a single vendor helps meet both those needs as well, he said.
The push toward network virtualization—driven by the need for improved agility, programmability and scalability—has fueled the idea of putting the control plane and networking tasks into software that can run on a range of inexpensive commodity systems. Original design manufacturers (ODMs) have taken advantage of the trend to offer white boxes that can run the software. HP and other networking vendors—particularly Dell and Juniper Networks—have responded by offering branded networking gear that can run third-party software from the likes of Cumulus Networks and Pica8.