The networking industry has seen the era of tightly coupled software and hardware components of the network devices. The companies develop their own network operating system and integrate it with the underlying network silicon’s software stack (SDK). It takes a collaborative effort for the silicon vendor and OEM vendor to make a complete network switch product. There is more effort involved to integrate the silicon vendor SDK and own Network Operating System (NOS). This can be called as an aggregated network device where the switch software is tightly coupled and non-scalable. The product supply chain is own by the company.
To adapt the network disaggregation concept, big players like Microsoft, Facebook, Dell, Intel, Broadcom, Mellanox, Marvell, Cavium etc. have muscled up to tackle the problem of the traditional network stack. They have formed the Open Compute Project (OCP) group and introduced the standard abstraction of the network switch. The standard interface is called SAI – Switch Abstraction Interface. When we say network stack it means NOS which includes the switching silicon’s software kit, platform-specific drivers, and management plane. In order to bring up the switch, it needs to put all software pieces together to form a complete NOS.