03 Oct 2019
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Mellanox embraces open-source SONiC operating system

By Sean Mitchell

First created by Microsoft to run its switches in the Azure datacenters, SONiC is an open-source operating system. It's based upon the Linux kernel and is now fully open-source as a community project under the Open Compute Project (OCP).

Mellanox is the first networking switch vendor to offer full-stack support for the SONiC network operating system. This move comes as Mellanox expands its range of OCP SmartNICs and will help organisations simplify open networking in their data centres.

The full-stack support for the SONiC network operating system is available for all of Mellanox Spectrum switches.

Mellanox was already a significant contributor to the SONiC open-source project, so it would seem that this move to full-stack support on its products was destined to happen.
"SONiC is an amazingly versatile and scalable NOS for the data centre, and Open Ethernet is an incredibly powerful concept," said Amit Katz, Vice President of Ethernet Switches, Mellanox Technologies. "Every week we hear from more customers who want to combine the power of SONiC with the best-in-class switch silicon in Mellanox Spectrum. Our unique support offering and vast SONiC experience make this easy for new and existing SONiC customers."

Yousef Kahlidi, Corporate Vice President, Azure Networking at Microsoft Corp. said, "SONiC delivers scalable and efficient cloud networking that offers one optimised NOS that runs on a variety of best-of-breed switches. Offering support for SONiC on their switches allows Mellanox to bring the benefits of SONiC to a larger customer segment."

"Meituan is deploying SONiC in production because it is a non-proprietary, open NOS that has the features and scale we need for our cloud data centres," said Lei Zheng, Leader of the SONiC team at Meituan. "SONiC works well on Mellanox, and it gives us full network visibility features needed to operate a modern data centre. We are extremely excited that our upcoming SONiC deployment will be fully supported by a world-class networking company like Mellanox."

Additionally, Mellanox is introducing today new OCP SmartNICs powered by the ConnectX-6 Dx ASIC and BlueField-2 I/O Processing Unit (IPU), joining the broad Mellanox OCP adapter portfolio of ConnectX-4 Lx and ConnectX-5 OCP 2.0 and OCP 3.0 adapter cards.

Mellanox advanced network adapters enable faster and more efficient cloud, storage, security, AI, machine learning, video streaming, and big data solutions for cloud, telco and enterprise customers. The Mellanox, OCP SmartNIC portfolio, delivers unprecedented performance and advanced features including Mellanox multi-host, Mellanox socket-direct® and host-based management, which complement the Mellanox Open Ethernet switches and expanded support for SONiC.

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