Mar 20, 2018

Apstra Demonstrates Open Networking — SONiC over Mellanox at OCP Summit

apstra_sonic_mellanox_linkedin.pngApstra® has been involved with the Open Compute Project (OCP) since we came out of stealth in 2016. We make infrastructure simple, empower network operators, and are customer-driven. We support the OCP mission to disaggregate networking hardware and software and create a vibrant open networking ecosystem, enabling faster innovation, and creating better efficiency in data center deployments.


Through OCP, Facebook has taken a leading role in offering organizations more choices — including new hardware platforms with the potential to create better efficiency in data center deployments.

At Apstra, we are committed to:

  1. driving complexity out of data center operations, through a simple intent-based operational model, and
  2. providing our customers with a choice of options, both from established vendors and open alternatives.

We believe delivering on simplicity and choice require the following guiding principles:

  1. Turnkey products rather than DIY. The main barrier to simplicity and choice for a network operator is the lack of turnkey vendor supported products. Organizations either lock themselves into software provided by their hardware vendor, or contemplate DIY alternatives — which require hiring a large team, at a high cost, further increasing their operational costs and implementation risks. Without turnkey vendor-supported products, open networking options add complexity, requiring a CCIE to learn how to configure and troubleshoot new switch operating systems. Indeed, getting locked into open networking alternatives through DIY is no better than being locked into devices from established vendors. Perhaps your best choice is a combination of established vendors and open networking alternatives? Enter turnkey, intent-based automation.
  2. Intent-based automated operations. Whether your network has devices from Cisco, Arista, Mellanox, Dell, open networking alternatives like Cumulus, SONiC, OPX, ONL, or a mix of these tomorrow, your intent remains the same. Automated operations means that intent is automatically mapped to your choices today, and automatically remapped to your choices tomorrow. Intent-based automation also means that you can relieve your key developers from an internal commitment to keep up with best-of-breed, best practices, and the minutia of how to configure and troubleshoot devices from various vendors — which is the sole mission and life blood of Apstra. This frees your valuable developers and network engineers to be deployed on initiatives that are strategic to your business.
  3. Open Networking. At Apstra, we are big supporters of Open Networking. For one, our customers have demanded Open. But also, and critically, Open is a key enabler for intent-based operations. The open APIs that all the switch OSs now provide for configuration and telemetry access are a key enabler for automation. More standardization around OpenConfig will help further. Open networking switch operating systems – such as OPX, SONiC, and ONL provide more choice and greater access to open interfaces. Apstra itself is extensible and programmable through Open APIs, streaming interfaces, and graph queries. And we have our own community github repositories encouraging community engagement.

Apstra’s intent-based automated operational model enables simplicity and choice, and is both a key enabler for open networking and a major benefactor.

That is why we are at the OCP Summit, fully supporting its mission, actively participating, and also demonstrating how we can help forward-thinking network customers with their choices and enabling choice. If you are attending the OCP Summit, drop by our booth, C11 where we plan a few neat showcases:

  1. A powerful demonstration of Apstra AOS® providing turnkey, enterprise-class operations of SONiC, in collaboration with Microsoft, and Mellanox, interoperating seamlessly with switches from established vendors. Here are a few industry thoughts:
    Microsoft Corporation – Yousef Khalidi, Corporate Vice President for Azure Networking“We are pleased to see Apstra play a key role in helping the SONiC ecosystem grow. Apstra’s networking solution supports industry needs for automation and analytics and will help bring the benefits of SONiC to enterprise data center deployments.”

    LinkedIn – Shawn Zandi, Principal Architect and SONiC Community Manager

    Customer demand for SONiC continues and Apstra’s turnkey automation and analytics demonstrate the relevance, ease and reliability of SONiC in enterprise and service provider data center deployments.”

    Mellanox – Kevin Deierling, VP of Marketing

    “Mellanox is committed to supporting innovative network disaggregation to improve agility, cost, performance and interoperability for our customers. Apstra’s demonstration shows the value our solutions bring as we embrace best-of-breed technology in open networking.”

  2. A cool security-focused demonstration of Apstra AOS leveraging telemetry from Mellanox ASICs along with Apstra’s extensible telemetry and Intent-Based-Analytics™ to pinpoint the root cause of packet drop due to a faulty Access Control List entry.
  3. A showcase of our recent Yahoo Japan announcement case study, comparing Facebook’s infrastructure to Yahoo Japan, and highlighting the critical role of Apstra AOS as the foundation for Yahoo Japan’s investment in massive automation analytics.

If you are looking to build new data center networks, are faced with the hardware-specific versus DIY conundrum, and are intrigued by open networking alternatives, then try Apstra AOS. We provide risk-free try-and-buy programs so you can experience the power of a simple, turn-key operational model that works across hardware from both established vendors and open alternatives. I’ll be at the OCP Summit along with Manish Sampat and other company leaders both days so please contact me if you’d like to schedule a 1:1, or simply drop by the Apstra booth C11!

Mansour Karam

President, Founder