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Open Source Hardware Gets Network Help From Mellanox

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

This week Mellanox announced that it was offering its SwitchX-2 top-of-rack switch to the Open Compute Project, the tech community whose goal is to design standards for efficient and scalable data center hardware.

In May of this year, the Open Compute Project expanded its charter to include networking hardware with the intent of developing an OS-agnostic top-of-rack switch. 

According to Mellanox, their proposed switch "supports 48 10GbE SFP+ ports and 12 40GbE QSFP+ ports, enabling non-blocking connectivity within the OCP's Open Rack, or alternatively, enabling 60 10GbE server ports when using QSFP+ to SFP+ breakout cables to increase rack efficiency for less bandwidth demanding applications. The new switch is also the first that supports Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) over x86 processors, which will enable new levels of scalability and performance."

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Mellanox believes that the SwitchX-2 lowers power consumption, reduces latency and density and would allow for larger and more cost effective data center designs.

In an announcement from the Open Compute Project yesterday, relating to the project's intent to develop the OS-agnostic top-of-rack switch, Frank Frankovsky, chairman and president of the Open Computer Project Foundation, stated "Our progress so far has exceeded even our lofty expectations -- hundreds of people are actively collaborating on the development of more than 30 potential contributions, covering most of the network hardware stack and even some of the network software stack.  We'd like to highlight four contributions in particular, all of them currently being considered by the OCP Incubation Committee and likely to be accepted soon."

Mellanox was one of the four contributors recognized by the Open Computer Project for its contribution.  Broadcom and Intel were also recognized for developing and proposing specifications for an open switch as well.