DentOS, a network operating system for switches

The Linux Foundation unveiled a few days ago the release of the first version of the DentOS operating system which is oriented for use in switches, routers, and specialized networking equipment.

This first version of DentOS It is based on the Linux Kernel 5.6 and the developments of the project are written in C and are distributed under the free public license of Eclipse and it is mentioned that the initial objective of the project was to create a platform for network equipment on the Amazon infrastructure.

The development is carried out with the participation of Amazon, Delta Electronics, Marvell, NVIDIA, Edgecore Networks and Wistron NeWeb (WNC).

The Linux Foundation, the non-profit organization that enables massive innovation through open source, today announced Arthur, Dent's first code release, a project to enable the creation of a network operating system (NOS) for networks. disaggregated. 

Arthur's version, named after Arthur Dent, the main character in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, uses the recently released Linux kernel 5.6 and leverages SwitchDev to simplify integrations, remove complex abstractions and SDK change management, and support Existing Linux toolchains. 

About DentOS

teeth uses the Linux SwitchDev kernel subsystem to manage packet switching, allowing you to create controllers for Ethernet switches that can delegate frame forwarding and network packet processing operations to specialized hardware chips.

Software is based on the standard Linux networking stack, the NetLink subsystem and tools such as IPRoute2, tc (Traffic Control), brctl (Bridge Control) and FRRouting, as well as VRRP (Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol), LLDP (Link Layer Discovery Protocol) and MSTP (Multiple Spanning Tree Protocol).

The system environment is based on the ONL distribution (Open Network Linux), which in turn uses the base of the Debian GNU / Linux package and provides an installer, configurations and drivers to run on switches.

ONL is developed by the Open Compute project and it is a platform for creating specialized network devices that can be installed on more than 100 different switch models. The set includes controllers to interface with gauges used in switches, temperature sensors, coolers, I2C buses, GPIO, and SFP transceivers.

Of the characteristics of the system, the following stand out:

  • Use the Linux Kernel, Switchdev and other Linux-based projects as the basis for the solution (no abstractions or overhead)
  • Treat ASIC and Silicon for Networking / Datapath like any other hardware
  • It simplifies the abstractions, APIs, drivers, and low-level overhead that currently exists in these switches and other open software.
  • It unifies the community of suppliers ODM, SI, OEM and end users.
  • Solves the network operating system challenge for the Distributed Enterprise Edge use case and extends it to other use cases, such as Enterprise Datacenter

About the first version of DentOS

The first version of DentOS It has been released for 8 Mellanox and Marvell ASIC-based switches with up to 48 10Gb ports. It supports a variety of ASICs and network processing chips, including Mellanox Spectrum, Marvell Aldrin 2, and Marvell AC3X ASICs with hardware packet forwarding tables.

The first version provides support for 802.1Q (VLAN), NAT, PoE, dynamic routing using OSPF and ISIS protocols (based on FRRouting), establishing traffic processing rules, collecting telemetry on the operation of the platform and network activity.

For management, you can use the IpRoute2 and ifupdown2 toolkits, as well as gNMI (gRPC network management interface). YANG data models (yet another new generation, RFC-6020) are used to define the configuration.

In the first quarter of 2021, a second version is expected, which will include support for VxLAN, IPv6, NetConf / OpenConfig, PPPoE, EVPN Multihoming, Anycast and 802.1x gateways (PNAC, Network Access Control).

And it is also mentioned that a third version is scheduled for the second half of 2021, which will include support for MCLag (link aggregation), 802.1br.

Finally, if you are interested in knowing more about it, you can consult the details In the following link.


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