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03:46 PM
Marcia Savage
Marcia Savage
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Facebook Unveils Open TOR Switch

Social networking giant builds its own switch that's designed to operate more like a server for better flexibility.

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MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Strategist
6/29/2014 | 6:38:47 PM
Re: FBOSS
I would also assume that Facebook isn't planning on entering the white-box switching market, but some of the PR language that went with this announcement was interesting: "While existing network switches are currently a 'black box' of proprietary hardware and software, Facebook has separated the two, to bring more choice into the market."
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2014 | 10:28:58 PM
Re: FBOSS
It will be interesting to see how functional FBOSS itself is, when Facebook releases it via OCP as an open product (if i understand correctly).

If it's an OS with a Thrift API for the network ASIC and not much more, then it's not a lot of use. Or will it come with controller software too?

I'm also assuming that in terms of Wedge itself, Facebook is releasing the design specifications rather than planning to enter the white-box switching market, so even once released, somebody now has to build and sell it (unless you are in the mood to build your own switches as well as code for them?)

It does sound very cool though. If we can understand what this really means to use as consumers of network hardware, that would be nice.
AbeG
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AbeG,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2014 | 8:09:00 PM
Re: FBOSS
I actually liked the line "all our software engineers become network engineers", although I don't think it would have been intended to mean advanced network engineers.

A somewhat similar comparison might be how someone can build a respectable website without knowing any HTML, CSS, etc.  
MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Strategist
6/20/2014 | 11:19:49 AM
Re: FBOSS
Definitely, this is something only a huge company like Facebook with tons of resources can pull off. Not sure what it will take for the open networking model to work in the enterprise space. 
Susan Fogarty
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Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Strategist
6/20/2014 | 10:39:45 AM
Re: FBOSS
Another thing, to Drew's point, is that even if this is as momentous as Linux emerging against Windows, the network operating system in these cases is a much bigger deal than a desktop or server OS in a typical business environment. Facebook can pull this technology off because they have thousands of network architects and engineers who have been doing this for years. Very few other companies can or would even try to replicate that.
Susan Fogarty
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Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Strategist
6/20/2014 | 10:24:48 AM
Re: independent network operating systems
Yeah, there is also a lot of bluster out there about Cisco's customers now "suddenly" becoming their competitors. Yes, that is happening, but I think there are not that many companies that have the capabilities to do this type of networking on their own, so Cisco has a lot of the market lefyt to play in. That may change over time, but for the near future it's really the cutting edge, and the action has been shifting toward Google and Facebook for a while. 
MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Strategist
6/19/2014 | 5:30:13 PM
independent network operating systems
In his blog post about Facebook's switch, Greg Ferro said the arrival of independent network operating system (NOS) products has parallels with Windows/Linux.
MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Strategist
6/19/2014 | 5:20:31 PM
Re: FBOSS
According to that blog post, FBOSS uses the same software libraries Facebook uses to manage its servers: "By controlling the programming of the switch hardware, we can implement our own forwarding software much faster. We also added a Thrift-based abstraction layer on top of the switch ASIC APIs, which will enable our engineers to treat Wedge like any other service in Facebook."
Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Strategist
6/19/2014 | 4:06:35 PM
Re: FBOSS
I'm not sure I buy the "all our software engineers become network engineers" line. Do they have a management tool to let them configure network connections and apply policies, or are they just doing things like installing and updating the OS software?
Susan Fogarty
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Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Strategist
6/19/2014 | 8:22:06 AM
Re: FBOSS
Yes, I have heard similar comments about VMware NSX -- that it allows the server guys to do things they used to need to ask the networking team to do. That's probably a good thing from a "breaking down silos" and efficiency perspective. If i were a network engineer, I might find it a bit threatening, though. Any thoughts from readers?
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