DANOS: Introduced First Open Network Operating System

    Last week, the Linux Foundation announced the start of work on DANOS, the first disaggregated network operating system for the ecosystem of white-box devices. The release of the open-source operating system is scheduled for the second half of 2018.

    More details about the project below. / Flickr / Norlando Pobre / CC Initially, DANOS was developed by the AT&T media conglomerate, code-named dNOS (Disaggregated Network Operating System). The word “disaggregated” in the name means that it is an operating system for open devices. dNOS is part of AT&T’s plan to transition from traditional proprietary hardware platforms to a single ecosystem of non-branded IT solutions

    (white boxes), that is, network equipment that is not tied to any well-known brand. For its implementation, AT&T began to prepare common standards for interfaces that will unite the community of software and hardware developers.

    At the end of January in their own blog AT & T said that the project will be transferred to the Linux Foundation. From the very beginning, the company planned dNOS as an open system, and therefore the issue of transferring open-source technology to the community was a matter of time. Something similar happened earlier with the E-COMP platform (which became ONAP - an open OS for the network cloud), which AT&T began to develop inside the company, and then teamed up with the open-source Open-O group. In the case of dNOS, the conglomerate calculatedto broader support from the developer community from the start.

    On March 27, the Linux Foundation officially announced the start of work on dNOS. Then the project changed its name to DANOS.

    Linux Foundation Network Technology CEO Arpit Joshipura said: “We are delighted to work on DANOS and are inviting the rest of this vast ecosystem to create a disaggregated network operating system with us.”

    He was supported by John Medamana, Vice President of AT&T Packet Optical Networks, “Transferring the project to open source, we plan to create a community around an open framework that will support white-box projects.” He also noted"DANOS is the first carrier-grade open-source system for global computing networks , and it represents an important stage in the development of the industry."

    / Flickr / jon johnson / cc

    DANOS Architecture

    The architecture of the system, according to the AT&T specification , consists of three levels: the base operating system, the control plane and the data plane. The base OS is responsible for bootstrap loading, process management, and SSH access control. At her disposal is also basic information about the status of the network.

    The control plane manages network applications and their integration into DANOS. Examples of applications include a BGP daemon, an SNMP server, an IPsec daemon, and a firewall management service. This layer also provides DANOS configuration interfaces to external systems and end users. The Control plane also manages several transmit levels that are connected using the chassis control system.

    The chassis management client is part of the transmission layer and is responsible for synchronizing data with the management layer. Data is transferred to the FAL (forwarding abstraction layer), which "translates" the presentation of data on the network into the language of special APIs from various equipment suppliers.

    The control and transmission levels can be scaled independently of each other and work on any equipment, which allows you to use the OS to work with multi-component systems and even in geographically distributed network environments.

    How the IT community reacted

    The project has secured the support of many IT professionals and companies. According to Alley Hasan, director of strategy for Dell EMC, a collaboration with DANOS will further benefit network operators and also accelerate the implementation of composable networks.

    Microsoft Lead Engineer Dave Maltz welcomed the inclusion of Microsoft's SAI (Switch Abstraction Interface), developed in the DANOS architecture. "Using SAI on the DANOS hardware abstraction layer will allow the system to work with a wide range of switches using this interface."

    Despite the fact that the open system contradicts the proprietary software model, the “traditional” manufacturers of network equipment also welcomed the initiative.

    CTO and vice president of Juniper Networks, Bikash Koley, said: “The product development process is constantly changing, and we firmly believe that openness and disaggregation will help organizations implement innovative technologies faster and more efficiently.”

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