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A Marvell-ous Hack Indeed – Winning the Hearts of SONiC Users

By Kishore Atreya, Director of Product Management, Marvell

Recently the Linux Foundation hosted its annual ONE Summit for open networking, edge projects and solutions. For the first time, this year’s event included a “mini-summit” for SONiC, an open source networking operating system targeted for data center applications that’s been widely adopted by cloud customers. A variety of industry members gave presentations, including Marvell’s very own Vijay Vyas Mohan, who presented on the topic of Extensible Platform Serdes Libraries. In addition, the SONiC mini-summit included a hackathon to motivate users and developers to innovate new ways to solve customer problems. 

So, what could we hack?

At Marvell, we believe that SONiC has utility not only for the data center, but to enable solutions that span from edge to cloud. Because it’s a data center NOS, SONiC is not optimized for edge use cases. It requires an expensive bill of materials to run, including a powerful CPU, a minimum of 8 to 16GB DDR, and an SSD. In the data center environment, these HW resources contribute less to the BOM cost than do the optics and switch ASIC. However, for edge use cases with 1G to 10G interfaces, the cost of the processor complex, primarily driven by the NOS, can be a much more significant contributor to overall system cost. For edge disaggregation with SONiC to be viable, the hardware cost needs to be comparable to that of a typical OEM-based solution. Today, that’s not possible.

Challenge accepted! Marvell’s team of “Marvellous Hackers,” including Ravindranath CK, Antony Rheneus, Jithender Reddy, Maulik Patel, and Satheesh Kumar Karra, set out to solve SONiC’s footprint problem.

Over the course of the two-day hackathon, the team was able to reduce image size by 20 percent and memory utilization by 5 percent.

cost-effective SONiC solution

The judges were impressed – the “Marvellous Hackers” won the “Most User Wanted” category out of a field of 23 teams and over 80 participants. This recognition confirms that the greater market wants a smaller footprint, more cost-effective SONiC solution. To learn more about our winning idea, watch this overview video.

Stay tuned for the next blog to learn how the team achieved this impressive result!

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