Dell Proposes Open Network Switch Interface

Mike Vizard
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The Top Challenges for Network Engineers in 2015

At the Open Compute Project (OCP) U.S. 2015 summit this week, Dell unveiled a Switch Abstraction Interface that is intended to make it simpler to invoke Ethernet switches.

Subi Krishnamurthy, CTO of Dell Networking, says Dell is proposing that the time has come for the industry as a whole to agree on a common application programming interface (API) between switches and network operating systems.

Krishnamurthy says the time has finally come when there is enough industry momentum behind open networking to create support for a common switch interface across multiple vendors. The Dell Switch Abstraction Interface is intended to accelerate the adoption of open networking that seeks to separate network operating systems from underlying commodity network infrastructure. To that end, Krishnamurthy says Microsoft, Broadcom, Intel, Mellanox and Facebook have all expressed support for the initiative.

Of course, open networking initiatives have yet to find any support from Cisco, and Hewlett-Packard, another proponent of open networking technologies, has yet to throw its weight behind an initiative led by Dell.

Nevertheless, Dell remains committed to an open networking strategy that has seen it partner with Cumulus Networks, Big Switch Networks and Midokura to deploy network operating systems and software-defined networking (SDN) software on top of switches based on commodity processors rather than proprietary ASICs. In addition to those three partners, Krishnamurthy promised there will be more to follow.

Obviously, it may take a while for approaches to open networking to usurp proprietary architectures. But Krishnamurthy says given the fact that customers are now looking to move to more programmable networking infrastructure that is also more likely to be upgraded more frequently, the economic benefits make open networking all but inevitable.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Mar 11, 2015 8:41 AM Roberto Neigenfind Roberto Neigenfind  says:
Great Initiative form Dell. If this is adopted could minimize a lot of networking problems the we have seen specially when using different vendors interconnected. The question is; Shall Cisco will adopt it? Reply

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