Stratum: An Open Source, Silicon Independent, Switch Operating System

Fun times continue in the land of Open Source Networking, as the ONF launches Stratum into the wild today. From the splash page of the project:

Backed by a broad spectrum of organizations from across the networking industry, Stratum is building an open, minimal, production-ready distribution for white box switches. Stratum exposes a set of next-generation SDN interfaces including P4Runtime and OpenConfig, enabling interchangeability of forwarding devices and programmability of forwarding behaviors. Stratum delivers a complete white box switch solution truly delivering on the ‘software defined’ promise of SDN.

OK, so it highlights all the latest buzzwords you need when launching anything open. But what’s this at the end of the launch page?

The Stratum project is in its incubation phase during which the source code repository is open only to members.

To join the project, a minimum commitment of one full time engineering (FTE) resource is required. For more information or to let us know how you would like to contribute, please fill out the contact form.

OK, so it’s not quite open source, yet. Lets see what happens once it exist incubation. The requirement for an FTE seems intriguing, if not a bit heavy handed.

Also, how does this relate to OpenSwitch, which is run by the Linux Foundation? Or Open Network Linux? ONL is basically a Big Switch project, and Big Switch is now a member of Stratum. Some sort of understanding from Big Switch as to what this means would be great. I’ll update this post if Big Switch releases any comment.

So far, I’d argue no one has gotten traction with any of these “Open Source” switch operating systems. What I don’t have data around is if this is because no one cares, the projects haven’t provided what people are looking for, or if there is some other reason. I am not sure if Stratum will answer these questions, but it is certainly worth seeing where the project goes in the near term to try and understand if it will attempt to.