Open Network Linux (ONL) Unifies Open Compute Project (OCP) Network Operating System Stack, Accelerates Adoption By Both Users and Developers

 Big Switch Networks is Joined By Facebook and NTT In Demo Of Open Network Linux (ONL) Integration With Facebook FBOSS, Wedge and NTT GoBGP; Unifies Disparate Open Compute Networking Technology Initiatives And Accelerates Adoption

Santa Clara, CA––October 8, 2015–– The Open Compute Project has helped Facebook to save more than $2 Billion, and has become a focal point of open initiatives for data center infrastructure. While numerous open source networking components have been contributed to the Open Compute Project's networking track, on October 9th a joint demo from Big Switch Networks, Facebook and NTT will mark the first integration of these disparate components into a unified, open source switch operating system: Open Network Linux (link:

A unified, open source switch operating system will expand both the developer and user community, and reduce the time required for new community members to get OCP networking running.

Open Network Linux was originally contributed to OCP by Big Switch Networks, a Gold level member, in March 2014.  Hardware compatibility has grown to include 15+ open switch hardware platforms used in hyperscale data centers, including Facebook’s Wedge switch and Accton’s Edgecore AS5712-54X and AS6712-32X switches, and Dell’s 4048 and S6000 open networking switches.

One of ONL’s key software innovations - pluggable forwarding agents - is accelerating the convergence of disparate software development efforts in the hyperscale networking community on to a common OS platform.  The demonstration and code repository will show pluggable forwarding agents including:

By using Open Network Linux as a base, disparate open software initiatives in the hyperscale data center networking community can share the same 'platform' code while using different versions of ‘forwarding agent’ code.  While some forwarding agent code projects are open source, others are closed projects held as trade secrets by some hyperscale operators.

Shared platform code ensures consistency and test coverage in areas like cable/optics compatibility, operational statistics, front panel LED behavior, SNMP behavior, environmental sensors, fan drivers, etc. Forwarding agents, on the other hand, determine dataplane features and network designs. The choice provided by this pluggable architecture significantly expands the number of end users capable of running open source switch software in their networks.

By demonstrating applicability to NTT's EVPN use case, this demo is testament to the vision that this software/hardware stack using different forwarding agents can be applied for purposes well outside of traditional data center switching.


“Accton is pleased to support advances in the Open Network Linux project, which offer more functional open source software options for network operators to address real world use cases with open network solutions,” said Jeff Catlin, VP Technology, Accton Technology Corporation.  “For example, Accton’s contribution of the ONL platform drivers for our Edgecore AS5712-54X and AS6712-32X OCP-compliant switches helped enable NTT to develop and demonstrate an open network approach to its EVPN use case using OCP hardware and software infrastructure.” 

“We’re glad to see Big Switch Networks providing Open Network Linux on top of Wedge, as well as making it easier for companies to plug in OCP and open source packages like FBOSS,” said Omar Baldonado, Manager of Networking at Facebook. “This development will encourage more organizations to try out the benefits of open source networking and disaggregated networking models.”

“There is a rich set of switch software components now available as open source via the Open Compute Project's networking track, but the integration was such a challenge that they were really out of reach for most organizations. With Open Network Linux, this is no longer the case." says Rob Sherwood, Big Switch CTO and co-creator of Open Network Linux.  "At the same time, I'm proud that this architecture strikes the right balance of shared code and pluggable agents.  We are unifying disparate efforts in the hyperscale networking development community without locking anyone into any specific architecture."

“Rapid development of new functionality is the key to introducing innovations and operational enhancements into production environments. We have been developing GoBGP <>, an Open Source BGP implementation, which can work with Open Network Linux. A unified, open source switch operating system greatly accelerates the pace of developing and integrating open source networking components on bare metal switch hardware.” Distinguished Engineer, FUJITA Tomonori, NTT Software Innovation Center

 "Dell is committed to providing our customers with choice through our Open Networking initiative which we announced nearly two years ago," said Adnan Bhutta, Director Global Strategy, Dell Open Networking. "Open Network Linux on Dell data center switches provides an open, agile and flexible networking platform for hyperscale and enterprise innovation.” 

"Getting to a unified distribution for OCP open source network code is a big milestone for the OCP/hyperscale community.  This will help onboard both new developers and new users," said Peter Krey, Former Co-Chair, Open Compute Project Networking Track. "It is an exciting time for all of us in the community as these hyperscale networking technologies mature."

“The Open Compute Project has played a valuable role in the industry by helping to accelerate the movement towards open networking hardware” said Guido Appenzeller, Chief Technology Strategy Officer, Networking and Security Business Unit, VMware. “As an active supporter of OCP, VMware is pleased to see the demonstration of a unified, open source switch operating system that offers customers additional options to power their next-generation open networks.”



ONL architecture with pluggable forwarding agents:

About Big Switch Networks:

Big Switch Networks is the market leader in bringing hyperscale data center networking technologies to a mainstream data center audience. The company is taking three key hyperscale technologies -- OEM/ODM bare metal and open Ethernet switch hardware, sophisticated SDN control software, and core-and-pod data center designs -- and leveraging them in fit-for-purpose products designed for use in enterprises, cloud providers, and service providers. The company's Big Monitoring Fabric is a feature-rich next-generation Network Packet Broker to monitor and protect existing networks, and Big Cloud Fabric is the industry's most advanced open networking switching fabric intended for new data center pods such as OpenStack private cloud, VMware NSX, big data, and VDI. For additional information, email, follow @bigswitch, or visit

Big Switch Networks, Big Cloud Fabric, Big Monitoring Fabric, Switch Light OS, and Switch Light VX are trademarks or registered trademarks of Big Switch Networks, Inc. All other trademarks, service marks, registered marks, or registered service marks are the property of their respective owners.