How Much Progress Has The Open Compute Project Made On Networking Hardware?

By David Cohen 

OpenComputeProjectLogo650Frank Frankovsky, vice president of hardware design and supply chain operations at Facebook and chairman and president of the Open Compute Project, touted the progress made thus far by the Facebook-launched data-storage initiative on the networking-hardware front in a post on the Open Compute Project blog.

Frankovsky highlighted contributions from:

  • Broadcom, which developed a full specification for and implementation of an open switch.
  • Cumulus Networks, which proposed to contribute its Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) software to the Open Compute Project.
  • Intel, which also developed an open-switch spec.
  • Mellanox Technologies, for yet another open-switch spec.

He wrote:

Just six months ago, we announced our intention to expand the charter of the Open Compute Project to include networking hardware.

At the time, it was our hope that we could build on the momentum we’d established in opening up server, storage, and data-center designs and collaborate with the broader community on the development of an open, operating-system-agnostic top-of-rack switch. Such a switch, we believed, would enable a faster pace of innovation in the development of networking hardware; help software-defined networking continue to evolve and flourish; and ultimately provide consumers of these technologies with the freedom they need to build infrastructures that are flexible, scalable, and efficient across the entire stack.

Our progress so far has exceeded even our lofty expectations — hundreds of people are actively collaborating on the development of more than 30 potential contributions, covering most of the network hardware stack and even some of the network software stack.