Short Bytes: Microsoft has released a Debian Linux-based OS for network switches and routers. The software is called SONiC — Software for Open Networking in the Cloud. This fully open source toolkit will alllow you to take control of the networking hardware and overcome the limitations of network devices.
Microsoft is moving fast and fiery on the road of open source and expressing its Linux love. Just a couple of days after announcing that it would port its popular database software SQL Server to Linux, the company has released a Debian GNU/Linux-based open source operating system that runs on network switches and routers.
This OS is called SONiC — Software for Open Networking in the Cloud. This toolkit is made to control the hardware according to your wish. Instead of relying on the company-made proprietary firmware, you can dictate how your devices work and define their tasks. Microsoft’s Linux-based toolkit is seen as a direct competition to white-box network operating systems from the companies like Dell, HP, and Cumulus Networks. This story first broke in The Register.
On Microsoft Azure’s blog, Azure CTO Mark Russinovich mentions that “SONiC is a collection of software networking components required to build network devices like switches.” It’s a fully open sourced switch platform that comes with the same software stack across hardware from different switch vendors.
Microsoft has already deployed SONiC in its cloud data center infrastructure and production datacenters. It is built on top of Microsoft’s previously released Linux-based ACS operating system.
“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,” Russinovich said.
Note that SONiC isn’t a Linux distribution. Instead, it’s 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.
You can go ahead and download SONiC from Microsoft Azure’s GitHub repo.