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Microsoft Releases a Debian Linux-based OS for Networking: SONiC

Monday, April 18, 2016

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SAN JOSE, CA: Microsoft announces a fully open-sourced, Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC) for running network devices including switches.

Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC) is a collection of software networking components required to build network devices like switches with rich functionality. It can run on various switching platforms via the Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI) specification

SONiC is built in collaboration with various networking industry vendors Arista, Broadcom, Dell and Mellanox. SONiC runs on a Linux Network Operating Systems (NOS). SONiC is a Debian-based collection of networking software (an OS for networking) needed to have a fully functional L3 device. It needs Linux kernel 3.16 and can support any Linux distribution.

Microsoft has already deployed SONiC in its cloud data center infrastructure and production datacenters. Together with SAI, SONiC will enable cloud operators to take advantage of hardware innovation, while giving them a framework to build upon open source code for applications on the network switch

Constellation Research’s Holger Mueller says it could be a way for Microsoft to attempt to increase its credibility in the networking community. “What we see in general is that if you are not No.1, No.2 and maybe No.3 in a market - you resort to open source initiatives in the hope of changing market share”.

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