Microsoft expands its involvement with the Open Compute Project with SONIC networking contribution

CTO of Microsoft Azure and techno-fantasy author Mark Russinovich spoke at the Open Compute Project (OCP) U.S. Summit today. During his time at OCP, Russinovich highlighted Microsoft’s latest contributions to the open source community regarding cloud computing, of which included data center designs and its software-defined networking (SDN) principle solutions.

Joining the OCP in 2014 was another important step in our open source journey. Since then, we contributed the Open CloudServer specification (OCS), sharing the very same server and data center designs that power our own Azure hyper-scale cloud, so organizations of all sizes can take advantage of our innovations in order to improve the performance, efficiency, power consumption and costs of their data centers.

As part of sharing our data center designs, we’ve also contributed technologies that showcase the software-defined networking (SDN) principles of speed and scale-out that serve as Azure’s backbone.”

Among Microsoft’s list of current contributions, Russinovich also points to some proposal the company would like to offer to OCP. For starters, Microsoft is proposing Software for Open Networking in the Cloud or more aptly abbreviated, SONiC.

SONiC is a collection of software networking components required to build network devices like switches. Together with SAI, SONiC will enable cloud operators to take advantage of hardware innovation while giving them a framework to build upon an open source code for apps on the network switch and gain the ability to integrate with multiple platforms.”

Microsoft’s belief in SONiC is based on the idea that a fully open sourced switch platform could be serviceable by sharing the same software stack across various hardware from multiple switch vendors. However, more than a simple proposal, SONiC is already receiving contributions from companies such as Arista, Broadcom, Dell, and Mellanox.

Beyond getting headlines for its embracing of the open source community, Russinovich, along with Microsoft, also believes the use of SONiC could help speed up, time to market for companies while also improving data center efficiencies. For more on SONiC or the OCP, visit Russinovich’s public announcement on the Microsoft Azure blog page or the OCP U.S. Summit 2016 website.

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