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Facebook Preaches Open Networks

Networking systems need to be more open both in their underlying hardware and use of open-source code, said a Facebook engineer at this week's Open Networking Summit in Santa Clara, Calif. His talk provided a practical reality check on the state of software-defined networks (SDNs) inside one of the world's largest global data center networks.

Giant data centers need to solve complex problems by automating processes in software, but they don’t necessarily need a single standard protocol or applications programming interface to do it, said Omar Baldonado, head of the networking software team at Facebook.

“As you work on interfaces for devices, make them as open and low level as possible,” he told a gather of mainly network systems engineers. “Don’t get hung up trying to standardize on one northbound interface — most people have pulled away from that,” he said referring to work at the Open Networking Foundation on an interface for its Openflow protocol.

Network vendors should separate hardware from software to simplify the job of operating increasingly large global networks, said Baldonado. “We want the flexibility to run whatever software we can develop or get on a box — all the software should not come from the vendor,” he said.

Read the rest of the article at EE Times.