Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC) Moves to the Linux Foundation

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Leading open source network operating system enabling dis-aggregation for data centers now hosted by the Linux Foundation to enable neutral governance in a software ecosystem

SAN FRANCISCOApril 14, 2021  Today, the Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced the Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC, an open source networking operating system), is now part of the Linux Foundation. The Linux Foundation provides a venue for continued ecosystem, developer growth and diversity, as well as collaboration across the open source networking stack.  

“We are pleased to welcome SONiC to the Linux Foundation family of open networking projects,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge, and IoT, the Linux Foundation. “SONiC is a  leader in open source data center NOS deployments, and we’re looking forward to growing its developer community.” 

The Linux Foundation will primarily focus on the software component of SONiC, and continue to partner with Open Compute Platform(OCP) on aligning hardware and specifications like SAI. 

“Microsoft founded SONiC to bring high reliability and fast innovation to the routers in Azure cloud data centers. We created it as open source so the entire networking ecosystem would grow stronger.  SONiC already runs on millions of ports in the networks of cloud scalers, enterprises, and fintechs.  The SONiC project is thrilled to be joining the Linux Foundation to take the community to its next jump in scale, participation, and usage,” said  Dave Maltz, Technical Fellow and Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Azure Networking.

About SONiC

Created by Microsoft for its Azure data centers, SONiC is an open source network operating system (NOS)  based on Linux that runs on over 100 different switches from multiple vendors and ASICs. It offers a full-suite of network functionality, like BGP and RDMA, that has been production-hardened in the data centers of some of the largest cloud-service providers. It offers teams the flexibility to create the network solutions they need while leveraging the collective strength of a large ecosystem and community. 

Existing Ecosystem

SONiC brings a strong existing ecosystem, with premier members including Alibaba, Broadcom, Dell, Google, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA and 50+ global partners. The SONiC community will host its first hackathon later this year. Stay tuned for details and registration information. More information about SONiC, including how to join, is available at SONiC (azure.github.io).

Support from Key Stakeholders & Customers

Alibaba

“This is a big milestone for the SONiC community. After joining the Linux Foundation, the SONiC community will play a much more important role in the networking ecosystem,” said Dennis Cai, Head of Network Infrastructure, Alibaba Cloud. “Congratulations!  As one of the pioneering SONiC users and contributors, Alibaba Cloud has widely deployed SONiC- based whitebox switches in our data centers, edge computing cloud, P4- based network gateways, and will extend the deployment to Wide Area Networks. With modern network OS design and operation- friendly features, we already gained tremendous value from the large-scale deployments. Alibaba is committed to the SONiC community, and will continue bringing our large-scale deployment best practices to the community, such as open hardware specs , network in-band telemetry, high performance networking, and network resiliency features, SRv6, etc.” 

Broadcom

“Large hyperscalers agree that merchant silicon, hardware independence, and open source protocol and management stack are essential for running their data center networks. Broadcom has wholeheartedly supported this vision with leading-edge, predictable silicon execution and contributions to the SONiC project. We are excited to see the SONiC initiative join the Linux Foundation and look forward to working with the streamlined ecosystem to drive the data center and hyperscale needs of the future,” said Mohammad Hanif, senior director of engineering, Core Switching Group, Broadcom.

Dell Technologies 

“We believe SONiC will continue its accelerated adoption into the modern data center, delivering the scale, flexibility and programmability needed to run enterprise-level networks,” said Dave Lincoln, vice president of product management at Dell Technologies. “As a leading SONiC contributor, we see the advantages it brings to the supporting open source community and customers. As we continue the drive to take open-source-based solutions mainstream, we look forward to working with the Linux Foundation and its supporting communities to drive SONIC’s development and adoption.”

EBay

“eBay operates a large-scale network infrastructure to support its growing global business. eBay cares about the openness and quality of NOS to operate its network infrastructure. eBay is an active participant in the SONiC community and deploys SONiC at scale in its infrastructure. eBay is excited to see this next step of growth of the SONiC community,” said Parantap Lahiri, vice president, Network and Datacenter Engineering at eBay. 

EPFL

“At EPFL, we have been looking for a vendor neutral and flexible NOS that can provide HaaS capabilities for our Private Cloud Environment. SONiC OS provides us the solution we have been looking for in our Data Centre, allowing us to migrate to a powerful and modern Data Centre network. We are looking forward to this next phase in the SONiC community,” said Julien Demierre, Network and System architect at EPFL.

Google

“We believe moving SONiC to the Linux Foundation is very important as it will further enhance collaboration across the open source network, community and ecosystem. Google has more than a decade of experience in SDN; our data centers and WAN are exclusively SDN controlled, and we are excited to have helped bring SDN capabilities to SONiC . We fully support the move to the LF and intend to continue making significant upstream contributions to drive feature velocity and make it easier for operators to realize the benefits of SDN with PINS/SONiC and P4,” said  Dan Lenoski, vice president, Engineering, Network Infrastructure, Google. 

Intel 

“Intel has a strong history of working with SONiC and the Linux Foundation to help to propel innovation in an open, cooperative environment where ideas are shared and iterated.  We continually promote open collaboration, encompassing open-source technologies such as the Infrastructure Programmer Developer Kit and P4 integrated networking stack (PINS), using Intel Xeon Scalable processors, Infrastructure Processing Units and Tofino Intelligent Fabric Processors as base hardware,” said Ed Doe, vice president and general manager, Switch and Fabric Group at Intel. “Joining the Linux Foundation will help SONiC to flourish, and in turn create greater benefit for cloud service providers, network operators and enterprises to create customized network solutions and transform data-intensive workloads from data center to the edge.”

NVIDIA

“This is an important milestone for SONiC and the community behind it,” said Amit Katz, vice president of Ethernet Switches at NVIDIA. “NVIDIA is committed to supporting the community version of SONiC that is 100 percent open source, enabling data center operators to control the code inside their cloud fabrics, accelerated by state-of-the-art platforms with SONiC support, such as NVIDIA’s Spectrum family of switches.” 

Open Compute Project 

“The Open Compute Project Foundation is pleased to continue its collaboration with SONIC as part of the OCP’s new hardware – software co-design strategy. The open source SONiC Network Operating System is enabling rapid innovation across the network ecosystem, and it began with the definition of the Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI) at OCP.   Hardware – software co-design focuses on software that requires intimate knowledge of the hardware to drive maximum hardware performance, and speed time-to-market for hardware where system performance and ecological footprint can be highly dependent on software and hardware interactions,” said George Tchaparian, CEO Open Compute Project Foundation.

About the Linux Foundation

The Linux Foundation is the organization of choice for the world’s top developers and companies to build ecosystems that accelerate open technology development and commercial adoption. Together with the worldwide open source community, it is solving the hardest technology problems by creating the largest shared technology investment in history. Founded in 2000, The Linux Foundation today provides tools, training and events to scale any open source project, which together deliver an economic impact not achievable by any one company. More information can be found at www.linuxfoundation.org.

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