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Mellanox Announces First Major Production Deployment of Linux Kernel-Based Open Ethernet Switch

Mellanox Technologies announced that NGENIX has deployed a 100Gb/s Ethernet Spectrum switch based on the Linux Switchdev driver to support their next generation content distribution network service. This is the first major deployment of an open Ethernet switch based on the Switchdev driver that has been accepted and is available as open source as part of the Linux kernel. The combination of Mellanox's high performance and field-proven Spectrum switch systems running an open, standard Linux distribution provides NGENIX with unified Linux interfaces across data center entities, servers and switches alike, with no compromise on performance.

"We were looking for a truly open solution to power our next generation 100GbE network," said Dmitry Krikov, CTO at NGENIX. "The choice was clear. Not only was the Mellanox Spectrum-based switch the only truly open, Linux kernel-based solution, but also allows us to use a single infrastructure to manage, authorize and monitor our entire network. In addition, it's proving to be very cost-effective in terms of price-performance."

"We are pleased to be working with NGENIX to enhance their network performance," said Dror Goldenberg, vice president of software architecture at Mellanox Technologies. "Mellanox Spectrum Open-Ethernet switch platforms support a variety of operating systems, such as MLNX-OS, Cumulus Linux, and any standard Linux operating system using an upstream Switchdev Linux driver. This provides customers with the freedom to choose the solution which best fits their needs without compromising on performance. With the market's growing demand for fully open, standard solutions for network switches, we expect the deployment of more Spectrum-based Linux switches into production networks in the near future."

Web giants and network operators alike have been calling for a common API to swap Ethernet switches in and out of networks as easily as a new server. As a pioneer in network disaggregation, Mellanox Technologies has been a major contributor to enabling the infrastructure of the open source Switchdev model. The Switchdev driver runs as part of the standard kernel, and thus enables downstream Linux OS distributions and off-the-shelf Linux-based applications to operate the switch. The driver abstracts proprietary ASIC application programming interfaces (APIs) with standard Linux APIs for the switch data plane configuration. The key advantage of Switchdev for network administrators and software developers is an open source driver that doesn't rely on any vendor-specific binary packages, with a well-known, well-documented and open data plane abstraction that is native to Linux.

Working closely with the Linux community, Mellanox is constantly adding features and capabilities to the Linux Switchdev driver. This makes Mellanox one of the top contributors of new Linux kernel code overall, and particularly within the Linux network stack.

This week, at the NetDev 2.2 conference in South Korea, Mellanox will present the Switchdev driver offload of the Linux TC Flower Classifier (which implements match-action functionality) to a Spectrum-based Ethernet switch. This enables IT managers to implement policy-based network management using standard Linux applications, such as the Open vSwitch, while taking advantage of the Spectrum switch high-speed performance and large scale forwarding tables.

"Switchdev is the vision that Cumulus Linux has embraced, promoted and implemented in the Linux networking model for the data center," said Shrijeet Mukherjee, vice president engineering, Cumulus Networks. "We are pleased with the progress that Mellanox is making around Switchdev, which benefits the whole community and helps establish a standard model."

"We are excited by the opportunity to expand Linux deployments beyond servers to the data center switches, created by the Linux kernel Switchdev driver for Mellanox Spectrum switch systems," said Alexey Smirnov, CEO at BaseALT. "This allows us to become a one-stop-shop supplier of software for the entire data center, as the same Linux operating system and applications may now run on both servers and network switches."

The Linux kernel Switchdev driver is available for all Mellanox Spectrum SN2000 switch systems, as well as Mellanox Spectrum switch ASIC. Mellanox Spectrum 100GbE switching and routing element introduces the world's lowest latency and the lowest power consumption in the market. The SN2000 portfolio is available in a variety of port and speed configurations (10/25/40/50/100GbE), including the SN2100, the highest density, half-width 16-port non-blocking 100GbE switch. The driver will also be available for Spectrum-2, the next generation 6.4Tb/s switch ASIC and the SN3000 switch systems using it. Both are expected to be available in 2018.

Published Friday, November 10, 2017 8:16 AM by David Marshall
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