Open Network Featured Article

Centec Networks Pushes Open Networking Options

March 20, 2017




In recent days, open networking has taken a whole new life and vitality, especially as two of the biggest names in open networking—the Open Networking Federation (ONF) and ON (News - Alert).Lab—recently got together to push forward in unison. Centec Networks recently brought forth its own advance in open networking, meanwhile, with new operating system options for its 10GE whitebox switch that support the Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC) system from Microsoft (News - Alert).


Reports note that this is the first such product available, combining the SONiC system with Centec's hardware. The system is known as the ExSwitch6400, and uses the Centec Golden Gate CTC8096 as its base. From there, using the Microsoft SONiC system, network operators can put the same software stack to use in several different hardware types, from a host of different switch vendors, making it a highly versatile solution to local needs.

At its base, the ExSwitch6400 is a standard top of rack (ToR) switch that offers 48x10GE downlinks alongside 40GE and 100GE uplink interfaces. Since it's built around Open Compute Project (OCP (News - Alert)) guidelines, it can work well with the Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) as well as other “bare-metal” switches.

Centec's Tao Gu, vice president of business development, commented “Centec has been tracking open-networking technology developments for a long time, and our support for SONiC is a key next step after contributing to the SAI (News - Alert) definition using our silicon. SONiC support is also the final step in creating a complete, open-networking platform based on Centec switch silicon and EmbedWay hardware. We expect this jointly-developed solution to help solve SDN challenges while delivering on open networking’s promise, including the freedom for customers to choose the hardware and network operating system solutions in each layer of the network solution stack that best meet their needs.”

Versatility seems the key takeaway with Centec's new system, and with good reason. Open networking has long offered the promise of greater versatility in operations, and seeing what the Centec ExSwitch6400 can do makes it clear Centec is delivering on that promise. The incorporation of Microsoft's open networking concept may seem a bit odd, but given Microsoft's name recognition in the field, it's not so outlandish; Microsoft is simply enough a name users trust.

Centec's system thus incorporates Microsoft's name recognition with its own hardware to produce a solution that addresses many key needs all at once. With this in mind, it's a safe bet that Centec's new system will prove valuable going forward and draw a lot of interest from new users.




Edited by Maurice Nagle