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HP, Intel, VMware and Broadcom release new open-source NOS

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October 8, 2015

Here's a piece of interesting news this morning: HP, Intel, VMware and Broadcom have released a new, open-source network operating system (NOS) that is supposed to compete directly against Cisco's proprietary and very stable IOS software.

Dubbed 'OpenSwitch' the new OS offers the now-familiar, thanks to the likes of Big Switch and Cumulus Networks, a chance to buy a white box switch and run your own operating system on it.

As you probably expected, the new NOS is Linux-based. HP will happily install it on its own Altoline switches, or you can have a go yourself on the Open Compute Project.

The switch is open source, so anyone can modify the code if they stick to the governance guidelines.

HP's intention, according to Philippe Michelet, the company's director of global product management for data center equipment, is to let the dice fall where they may but to develop and market its own version of the software.

That version of OpenSwitch will be offered in much the same way that HP delivers its Helion version of OpenStack.

Michelet added that the initial target for OpenSwitch is hyperscale users, in applications like Border Gateway Protocol (BGP).

He expects the switch will mature over time to the point at which it can take on various duties in the data centre. OpenFlow will also make its way into the project, we are told.

HP is touting OpenSwitch as its very own contribution to the disruption of the networking industry, while at the same time noting that the disaggregated approach to networking isn't for everyone.

Less demanding applications than hyperscale or the enterprise data centre aren't therefore a target, at least not for now.

HP says it plans to have its own “HP curated” cut of OpenSwitch ready to push packets in July or August 2016, if all goes well.

When it's ready, HP thinks there's a good and interesting networking market to be led, in which white boxes offer a more complex experience and its curated approach presents a disaggregated option.

Source: HP.

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