Open Network Featured Article

Mellanox Offers Linux Kernel Driver on Spectrum Switches

October 07, 2016

Mellanox Technologies Ltd. now offers a standard Linux kernel driver for its Open Ethernet, Spectrum (News - Alert) switches.

That enables standard Linux operating systems and off-the-shelf Linux-based applications to operate on the switch. Rather than using vendor-specific software development kits, customers can employ the open source Linux driver to control the switch hardware. As a result, data centers can employ the hardware of their choice.

“The ecosystem effort currently underway to enable Open Ethernet switch infrastructure is gaining strong momentum, as it enables IT managers to fully optimize their data centers for maximum performance and lower cost of ownership,” said Dror Goldenberg, vice president of software architecture at Mellanox (News - Alert) Technologies. “The community endeavor to enable the native Linux operating system will further simplify the adoption of Open Ethernet across a variety of data centers.”

The Mellanox SN2000 switch with ONIE (the Open Network Install Environment) allows users to natively install and use any standard Linux distribution as the switch operating system. The Linux kernel driver is available for all Mellanox Spectrum SN2000 switch systems, as well as the Mellanox Spectrum switch ASIC. The Mellanox Spectrum line offers 100GbE switching and routing and boasts the lowest power consumption in the market.

Mellanox and Canonical have expanded their relationship to purpose Ubuntu (News - Alert) Core image for the SN2000 switch. They allowed for that by making a kernel snap with the upstream Linux kernel Spectrum switchdev support. That is expected to enable a large ecosystem of developers to innovate more quickly.

“It’s no surprise that software service modernization will rely on solutions that take advantage of Linux,” said Damascene Joachimpillai, architect of cloud hardware, network, and security at Verizon (News - Alert) Labs. “One of the major advancements in recent times in Linux networking is the switchdev integration, which provides a well-known, well-documented, and controlled abstraction, which gives end users the ability to choose the best-of-breed switching solution.”

Edited by Maurice Nagle