We have covered the network switch chip upstart Innovium a number of times at STH. The company is looking beyond switch ASICs and is thinking about how to expand the market for white box switches. As part of this, the Innovium TERACertified switch solutions are designed to make it easier to deploy white box switching.
Innovium TERACertified Switch Solutions
This is Innovium’s setup side explaining the challenges around getting an open networking solution deployed.
In the face of this, Innovium is introducing its TERACertified program. Here we get validated and tested solutions around SONiC. SONiC is the open-source network operating system that is an enormous force in the networking world. SONiC is Linux-based but perhaps the better way to view it is that it is the Linux of the networking world. We are just earlier in the cycle than we are with Linux on servers.
Innovium has certified switches along with optics and DACs that work with SONiC. While one still needs to configure SONiC, this goes a long way in making the solution easy-to-deploy.
Innovium hopes that this will make it easier to get open networking solutions into partners and other channels. Selling direct to ODMs for hyper-scalers is a large but narrow market.
One of the big challenges Innovium will face is that coming from the hyper-scale customer base, it does not have the same industry brand recognition as companies such as Cisco, Arista, Juniper, NVIDIA, Intel, Broadcom, and others. Still, while people may not immediately see the brand value of the TERACertified, the program should help the more technical channels assemble and sell solutions.
At STH, we recently did a hands-on with an Innovium 32x 400GbE switch if you want to learn more about the company’s products.
The big deal here is really going beyond the switch chip itself. White box switching has been a challenge because traditional vendors have done integration work between switch hardware, software, and pluggable devices. The goal with the TERACertified solution is to make it so that one can purchase a hardware stack that works with the open-source software stack without having to worry about the integration step. This is something that beyond open networking, that the OCP community more broadly should take note of as it is an important step in driving adoption of technology from hyper-scale to the next tiers of customers.