The GlobalNOC Whitebox / Baremetal Lab
With support by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the GlobalNOC at Indiana University established a lab to evaluate whitebox switching and allow other members of the Research and Education (R&E) community to use the resources and knowledge created by the effort.
As a first step, the GlobalNOC established the lab space required and stocked it with a broad range of whitebox devices representing a multitude of vendors and chipsets.
Relationships have been established with chipset vendors, device manufacturers, Network Operating System (NOS) providers and standardization organizations like the Open Compute Project (OCP).
Through these efforts, the GlobalNOC is able to provide a variety of Network Operating Systems on a variety of hardware platforms.
The first phase in our evaluation is validating that the NOS provides traditional protocol and forwarding implementations, and confirming the platform and software combinations fulfill the requirements of researchers and R&E network engineers.
The second phase will focus on the now exposed Linux functionality, and how this can be used in R&E environments. This includes installing standard Linux networking tools on the device (iPerf, nuttcp), specific tools developed for our environments (perfSONAR), and the use of Linux management tools for device management (Ansible, Chef, Puppet, Salt).
Phase three looks at the openly available APIs to control the chipsets, and how these can be leveraged for new functionality (SAI, OpenNSL, OF-DPA). A topic of specific interest is the new monitoring capabilities that give insight into the internal performance parameters of the chipset, such as Broadcom’s Broadview stack.
In phase four, Proof of Concepts for R&E specific solutions will be implemented. One example is the SciPass project. Find more information on SciPass and other solutions on the Proof of Concepts page. We are continuously looking for additional solutions to include there.