Big Switch to Leverage SONiC and ONL for Open-Source Network Operating System


According to 650 Group, the open networking market (excluding hyperscalers) is expected to reach $1.35BN by 2023

Cloud-First Networking company Big Switch Networks is building an open-source network operating system (NOS) by leveraging Microsoft-led Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC) and Big Switch-led Open Network Linux (ONL).

According to the company, leveraging SONiC and ONL for open-source NOS combines the benefits of two important open-source software stacks to accelerate broader adoption of open networking in non-hyperscale data centers.

“Leveraging SONiC and ONL to build an open-source NOS combines the benefits of OCP’s two important open-source software stacks, which are deployed in large-scale production networks,” said Prashant Gandhi, Chief Product Officer, Big Switch Networks.

He added, “The emergence of SONiC coupled with ONL signals that lower layers of the NOS stack are being commoditized, and vendor-agnostic innovations will be moving to upper layers including multi-system automation, real-time telemetry, and predictive analytics.”

The SONiC + ONL NOS is comprised of three open-source software components, each of which are widely deployed independently. These include: ONL, a base platform OS, including ONLP platform APIs; SONiC, higher-layer NOS stack, including forwarding agent/Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI) management, telemetry and programmable API layers; Free Range Routing (FRR), integrated through SONiC, for the L3 control plane functionality (BGP, OSPF).

Benefits of open-source NOS

Next-generation network infrastructure, driven by 5G, IoT and predictive analytics, as well as CapEx economics, is demanding open-source solutions within service providers, SaaS enterprises and specialized cloud providers. An open-source NOS is ideal for next-gen network build-outs, as it offers various business benefits such as innovation velocity, increased flexibility, freedom of choice and reduced cost.

  • Innovation velocity: open-source ecosystem, which drives faster innovation in the market.
  • Increased flexibility: More seamlessly adapt to evolving and ever-changing business requirements and technology advancements without vendor dependency
  • Freedom of choice: Elimination of vendor lock-in as a result of increased choice across a variety of open networking hardware platforms
  • Reduced cost: Meaningful reduction of TCO compared to closed solutions

Open networking market likely to reach $1.35BN by 2023

According to 650 Group, the open networking market (excluding hyperscalers) is expected to reach $1.35BN by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 33 per cent between the period from 2019 to 2023.

“Since 2014 the market has been shifting towards open, flexible, software-driven solutions. open-source projects, such as Open Network Linux, are helping to drive this shift away from closed networking,” said Alan Weckel, Founder & Principal Analyst, 650 Group.

“Open Network Linux and SONiC, when coupled together create a powerful, open Network Operating Systems, ideal for service providers, SaaS and cloud providers,” he noted.

Big Switch Networks is headquartered in Santa Clara, CA, with a dedicated presence across more than 25 countries. It has strategic partnerships with Dell EMC and Edgecore, delivering innovative software on industry-standard open networking hardware.


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