Open-Source Networking? How Disaggregation Found Its Way Into the Data Center

Written by Alex Kirby on Thursday, February 2nd 2017 — Categories: Data Center Design, Networking and Fiber

Here you are. You have all documentation ready and in-hand to present to your manager. The year is 2004, and you are pitching a new idea for updating the company’s existing network core infrastructure. The terms “cost-savings,” “scalable,” and “extensible” are prevalent within the proposal documents. You are unsure if the terms “open-source” and “networking” were ever mentioned in the same sentence before. However, the solution is simple: build a network that is non-blocking, resilient, predictable, and manageable.

Additionally, you adopt and include the operational efficiencies seen within your SysAdmin department. Who doesn’t love streamlined provisioning, broad visibility into resource utilization, and scalable deployment of services? What if we could provide the same network technologies across a variety of hardware platforms?

It turns out we can, using open-source networking to decouple hardware vendors from software. While this is only one option available in the market and may not work for every enterprise organization, the disaggregation of network hardware and software has some definite advantages.

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