DENT Launches To Simplify Enterprise Edge Networking Software

San Francisco, Calif., Dec 13, 2019 – The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the launch of DENT, a project to enable the creation of Network OS for Disaggregated Network Switches in campus and remote enterprise locations. Under the Linux Foundation, DENT hopes to unify and grow the community of Silicon Vendors, Original Design Manufacturers (ODM), System Integrators (SI), Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and end users to create an ecosystem of contributors around a full-featured network operating system. The initial use case will focus on the retail industry with premier members including Amazon, Cumulus Networks, Delta Electronics Inc, Marvell, Mellanox, Wistron NeWeb (WNC).

Networking solutions today are customized for each market and each use case, whether telecom, cloud or enterprise data center markets. They use proprietary silicon (ASIC) for packet processing and closed operating systems to enable workloads and applications on a network switch. Disaggregation is the new way for Open Networking and has been well accepted in data centers and telecom infrastructures. However, in enterprise networking– especially with distributed locations– nothing currently exists for Enterprise Edge properties that fall outside the traditional public cloud as they have very specific requirements to take advantage of disaggregation and the networking stack.

Remote campus locations and retail stores require a simple networking OS stack that is low cost and Linux-based. DENT is an Open Source project that will enable the community to build this solution without complicated abstractions. It uses the Linux Kernel, Switchdev and other Linux based projects to allow developers to treat networking ASICs and silicon like any other hardware. It simplifies abstractions, APIs, drivers and overheads that currently exist in these switches and on other open software.

With new technologies like 5G, Edge, IOT, AI, the next generation of remote buildings, retail stores and enterprises will have a lot of innovative workloads and services close to the applications and users. Having a simple disaggregated Linux/SwitchDev-based switch to power the remote offices will enable an ecosystem of apps that simplifies and standardizes integration across the ecosystem.

“The Linux Foundation will establish a neutral home from the start for DENT – vital for community infrastructure, meetings, events and collaborative discussions,” said Arpit Joshipura, GM of Networking at The Linux Foundation. ”Our goal is to create an open source, open participation technical community to benefit the ecosystem of solution providers and users focused on network operating system, control plane and management plane use cases across a variety of industry solutions.”

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“Delta is excited to participate in DENT and applauds the Linux Foundation for tackling the challenges in enterprise and campus networking,” said Honda Wu, Vice President of solutions and open source at Delta. “We stand ready to support with our deep knowledge and expertise in networking.”

“We are excited to have the Linux Foundation join with us to grow the community and accelerate this open source networking revolution,” said Amit Katz, vice president of Ethernet switches at Mellanox Technologies. “DENT OS is a native Linux Network Operating System which leverages switchdev, a Linux driver for Ethernet switch ASICs that Mellanox pioneered. Switchdev exposes the unique hardware innovations in the Mellanox Spectrum family of Ethernet Switches. DENT promotes network disaggregation, which benefits customers by eliminating vendor lock-in and allows hardware vendors to compete on a level playing field, where the very best switch ASICs and systems can win by delivering the highest ROI possible.”

“As a provider of intelligent wireless and wireline solutions, including those for distributed enterprise networking, Wistron NeWeb Corporation (WNC) fully embraces open software architecture,” said Larry Lee, EVP and GM of the Networking BG at WNC. “We are delighted to partner with the Linux Foundation and other industry leaders for this DENT project. WNC will first tackle distributed switching for the initial retail use case. We see great potential for this full-featured networking OS and look forward to working together in this partnership to improve network efficiency and provide conveniences for campuses and other remote distributed networking markets.”

“Open source is in Cumulus’ DNA and we’re excited to be the first software platform to contribute to DENT. We have a deep history with the Linux Foundation, from driving the FRRouting project, the most contributed open source routing project in the world, to our contributions to ONIE, EVPN, among others,” said Partho Mishra, President and Chief Product Officer at Cumulus Networks. “Cumulus is the natural choice to support DENT given our deep roots with networking contributions to the Linux kernel, our latest support for SwitchDev, and our expansive reach in the data center with more than 2,000 customers. We are looking forward to partnering on the DENT project to extend open source in kernel networking capabilities from the data center to the campus edge.”

“As a leading silicon provider in access networking and a firm believer in customer choice through disaggregated hardware and software, Marvell is excited to bring our technology leadership to Linux Foundation’s DENT project as a founding member,” said Gavin Cato, vice president of product management and marketing at Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. “Marvell’s innovative switch portfolio lays the foundation for the transformation of access networks and the edge into an intelligent future while creating significant total cost of ownership advantages for customers. We are well positioned to be a game changer in retail networking and the smart edge, bringing a holistic approach to the ecosystem.”

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