Anyone using Open Source Switches?



  • Is anyone using any open source switches or have any feedback on them? Seems like the next step now that we have open source router such as pfsense.



  • A router typically has limited bandwidth, say a few 1gb or 10gb ports, and routes between these ports.  A switch typically has a lot of 1gb or 10gb ports and has to handle huge amounts of bandwidth.

    My $200 switch supports 56gb/s of 64 byte packets and consumes less than 22 watts. It uses specialized ASIC hardware that is non-programmable but may support some basic configurable settings.

    You won't see much of "Open Source" switches until your see Open Source hardware, because switches are mostly just hardware. Routers are mostly just software. There are some really high end "Open Flow" switches that are quite programmable, but they are crazy expensive and not the best on low power consumption compared to non-programmable switches.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Even so most managed switches have some cpu and firmware to provide the configuration of the ASICs behaviour. That could be open-source. You could argue that exists already in an OpenWRT SOHO router. Those contains dedicated switch ICs whose behaviour in configured by the OpenWRT interface. It wouldn't be much of a stretch to expand that to something bigger/faster.
    http://wiki.openwrt.org/doc/uci/network/switch

    It been discussed here before and I don't think anyone suggested anything.
    Let us know if you find anything.  ;)

    Steve

    Edit: Facebook's Wedge switch? https://code.facebook.com/posts/681382905244727/introducing-wedge-and-fboss-the-next-steps-toward-a-disaggregated-network/



  • @SecuredBox:

    Is anyone using any open source switches or have any feedback on them? Seems like the next step now that we have open source router such as pfsense.

    Are you talking about devices running Cumulus?


  • Netgate Administrator

    You mean this?
    http://cumulusnetworks.com/product/overview/

    The product actually looks interesting but to find that out you first have to get past their website. Terrible, a wall of buzzwords and giant smiley faces.  ::)

    Steve

    Edit: Came across a bit agressive there, bad moment.



  • @stephenw10:

    You mean this?
    http://cumulusnetworks.com/product/overview/

    The product actually looks interesting but to find that out you first have to get past their website. Terrible, a wall of buzzwords and giant smiley faces.  >:(

    Steve

    That is indeed what I am referring to.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Hmm, the more I read about that and the accompanying open source projects the more promising it looks. Way beyond my league though.  ;) I guess in a few years some of the compatible switches may appear on ebay at prices I can afford. Or perhaps the technology will filter down to some lesser switches.

    Steve


  • Netgate

    I can't see software switches competing without ASICs but that might just be me.  With something like a Brocade ICX6430-48 at approx $35/gige-port stackable to 192 ports I just, well…



  • @Derelict:

    I can't see software switches competing without ASICs but that might just be me.  With something like a Brocade ICX6430-48 at approx $35/gige-port stackable to 192 ports I just, well…

    The switches that run Cumulus aren't just rack servers with a high-port count, they're dedicated switches with Broadcom switching chips.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Exactly, these are real 'hardware' switches. They just have an open bootloader for the SoC that runs the management firmware so you can load an alternative if you so desire. Exactly like OpenWRT on a SOHO router just with an emphasis on switching and much much more powerful hardware.  ;)
    Makes me think that an OpenWRT switch might not be far off at all.

    Steve