The Linux Foundation Projects
Skip to main content

We are happy to welcome OpenSwitch (OPX) Networking Operating System in the LFN project portfolio. OPX isan open source Linux-based network operating system (NOS) solution based on disaggregated design for OCP-compliant hardware and virtual machines. 

To learn more about the project and how it fits into the open networking stack, we sat down with Joe Ghalam, OPX TSC Chair and Distinguished Engineer at Dell EMC. Read below for more info. 


Please share a brief history of OPX — why and when it was formed, initial project goals, founders, etc. 
OpenSwitch project started with HPE as the main contributor and driver in 2014. As HPE ended support for the initial version of OpenSwitch, Dell EMC and a few other major contributors (SnapRoute, Cavium, Broadcom, and more) stepped up to take over the project in 2016. OPX as it is today is an innovative operating system for network systems. 

What market need does OPX fulfill, and how?
OPX is based on an unmodified Linux Distro (Debian). It takes advantage of the rich linux ecosystem, and also provides flexibility in customizing your system according to your network needs. OPX has been deployed commercially, and it has been in use by many small to large size service providers. It is one of the few open source network Operating Systems (NOS) that is fully functional out- of- the box. The architecture of OPX allows for rapid onboarding of software applications and open hardware platforms.

Why did you join LFN?
The OPX project has longstanding ties with the Linux Foundation and it has benefited from various engagement via summits and other LF activities. With the introduction of LFN, the OPX project members saw an opportunity to move the project to an area that is more focused on the networking side, but it needed to be at the right time to avoid release interruptions. We saw the move to LFN a right move for the following reasons:

  • It made more sense to be a part of LFN with focusing on networking. Afterall, OPX is all about networking and network support.
  • We believe the charter of LFN in harmonizing various networking open-source projects to provide a complete stack is essential.  By joining LFN, the community will benefit from this harmonization, and we look forward to accelerated innovation in the core OS.
  • The way LFN technical committee is organized, we hope to have more frequent and more meaningful interactions with other LFN projects.
  • The strong marketing team and infrastructure of LFN was another attractive part of move to LFN.

What are you most excited about in terms of collaboration?
We are eager to get engaged with the LFN technical committee and seek opportunities to collaborate and interop with other projects. The OPX project will bring the first NOS to LFN, and we are very excited to fill that gap for the existing and future projects.

Where does OPX fit into the overall open networking stack?
OPX is a fully functional NOS. It was designed from the ground up with software & hardware desegregation in mind to support open networking switches hardware. The design will allow vendors, service providers, and typical users to rapidly bring up networking switches and build applications to meet their network needs.

What are some examples of use cases and or solutions that you plan to bring to the LFN community?

The OPX NOS with basic L2/L3 protocol support (FRR has been tested as a protocol stack) has support for enterprise and datacenter use-cases. OPX supports native Linux applications and tools, and it also facilities rapid onboarding of home grown tools to extend its use-cases.