Two Paths to Open Networking: A Comparison of OcNOS and Commercial SONiC

Whispers of Change:
OcNOS Arrives to Disrupt the Data Center Landscape
| Blog Series (#1 of 4)

Welcome to the IP Infusion Series, “Whispers of Change,” where we’re not just exploring open networking; we’re crafting its future. The open-source momentum, particularly with SONiC, has caught the industry’s attention, thanks to Broadcom’s influence. In this debut blog, we invite you to see open networking through a different lens – the transformative perspective of IP Infusion’s OcNOS.

This blog aims to meticulously examine the critical commercial and technological distinctions between OcNOS and Commercial SONiC, offering a comprehensive analysis to facilitate a clear comprehension of variations in deployment complexities, feature completeness, cost savings, and other pertinent aspects.

User Experience: Two Production-Ready Powers

Both OcNOS and Commercial SONIC offer production-ready binaries and pre-integrated solutions. With OcNOS you get a complete package with validated platforms and optics qualified by IP Infusion, ready to deploy right away. With Commercial SONiC, you get a similar complete package but with platforms and optics validated by reseller or hardware vendor.

Support: A Lifeline at Your Fingertips vs. Distributed Accountability

OcNOS shines in the support arena, providing round-the-clock customer assistance with dedicated 24×7 TAC ready to address any issue. In contrast, Commercial SONIC offers Level 3 support directly but delegates Levels 1 and 2 to distributors. This decentralized support structure may lead to longer resolution times and less personalized assistance for users.

Feature Fireworks: L2/L3 Symphony vs. Hyperscale Solo

Large data centers demand a network maestro, not just a traffic cop. While Commercial SONiC offers a stable foundation for basic routing, its feature set has limitations. Multi-homing? Overlay ECMP? Extensive multicast? These become hurdles when complexity strikes.

Enter OcNOS, your network’s conductor. It transcends rudimentary routing, offering a robust suite that empowers you to conquer intricate scenarios. True multi-homing in EVPN-VxLAN? Check. Overlay ECMP for optimized traffic flow? Done. Granular QoS control for critical data? No problem. Need multicast for IPTV? OcNOS has got you covered. Plus, with user-configurable UFT, you can tailor the network to your exact needs. Don’t just route, orchestrate.

Openness Unraveled: Accountability Matters

OcNOS is a commercial software with IP Infusion taking full responsibility for its stability, security, and updates. This clear line of accountability ensures consistent quality and timely resolution of issues.

Commercial SONIC, commercially supported versions offered by ASIC and hardware vendors, is built upon an open-source framework that incorporates contributions from diverse sources. However, this collaborative approach may result in varying levels of quality, delayed adoption of patches, potential exposure to vulnerabilities, and uncertainties surrounding long-term maintenance and support.

Roadmap Realities: Customer-Driven Harmony vs. Community Influence

OcNOS continues to shape its roadmap based on the input from the direct customers and market trends, fostering a collaborative environment with users. In contrast, Commercial SONIC’s roadmap is largely driven by community, customers have only small impact through Broadcom contributions, this may not always align with the broader needs of diverse network operators.

Cost Dynamics: Subscription vs. Perpetual

While both platforms adhere to disaggregated networking principles, Commercial SONIC relies 100% on subscription-based support for revenue. Distributors for Commercial SONiC may charge additional value-added support services for their role in the support chain. OcNOS’ cost-effective perpetual licensing and dedicated support structure provide a more predictable cost structure, minimizing long-term financial surprises.

Lead Times: Efficiency Unleashed

With wide ecosystems and merchant silicon support, both OcNOS and Commercial SONiC empower you to control lead times and procurement schedules. You’re not beholden to a single vendor’s constraints.

Management Simplicity: One Orchestra vs. Scattered Soloists

OcNOS offers the dream of a unified network operating system. Manage your data center fabric, data center edge, wireless, and wireline networks seamlessly with a single OS and consistent user interface. Commercial SONIC primarily focuses on the data center fabric, leaving you juggling different OSes for different network segments, increasing operational complexity.

The New Player:

A hardware vendor-licensed Commercial SONIC has as well entered the scene. While it promises better qualification, porting, and support, it remains heavily reliant on community roadmaps and lacks advanced routing features. Additionally, its hefty price tag and exclusivity to white box platforms from a single vendor raise questions about its commitment to open networking.

The Final Notes: OcNOS, an Open Symphony for All

Both OcNOS and Commercial SONIC represent different paths within the open-source space. However, OcNOS stands out with its comprehensive features, dedicated support, and user-centric focus. It empowers you to build an agile, efficient, and future-proof network without sacrificing stability, reliability, or control.

Two Paths to Open Networking

Ready to explore OcNOS further? Stay tuned for our next blog, where we’ll compare OcNOS with proprietary network operating systems! 

This is Blog 1 in the series “Whispers of Change”. You can read the complete set here:

Blog #2: Breaking Free without Compromise: OcNOS and the Proprietary Network Operating Systems – A Comparative Exploration

Blog #3: So You’re Considering SONiC: Why OcNOS Could Be Your Network’s Missing Piece

Blog #4: Network Operating Systems Showdown: OcNOS vs. Proprietary & Open Source Options

Learn More about OcNOS Solutions:

Latest Data Center Case Studies: Scott Data Center Case Study: Revolutionizing Data Center Infrastructure

Latest Data Center Press Releases: Madeo Consultant Replaces Cisco Switches with IP Infusion Software and Open Networking

OcNOS Features and Supported Platforms:

Victor Khen is the Partner Marketing Manager for IP Infusion.