SONiC and its associated SAI (Switch Abstraction Interface) are open source projects that have flourished in open cloud networking field in recent years. They are built on top of standard Linux systems and leverage the latest technologies such as containers and in-memory database. AsterNOS built with SONiC/SAI as its kernel is characterized by fully open structure, completely decoupled hardware and software, loosely unionized software modules, high reliability architecture, and easy functional expansion.
AsterNOS can open up all its internal networking capabilities through REST API, enabling switch systems to be centrally managed and automatically powered up by third-party cloud and container management platforms. It also integrates NetDevOps capabilities such as Python, Ansible, and NETCONF, enabling OAM platforms to seamlessly and automatically manage and interface with switching systems running with AsterNOS.
There are several challenges open source software could face in production networks including lack of functionality, difficult to operate and maintain, etc. In order to effectively deal with these challenges, Asterfusion has developed a serious of enhancements including VLAG for reliability, PICFA™ for scalability, WebUI/REST-API for usability and key operational features such as Application Orchestration, Business Scheduling and Policy/Resource Management for AsterNOS. All these feature enhancements would allow any switching systems running with AsterNOS to be centrally configured and automatically deployed by the cloud management platform.
With the joint-deployment of AsterNOS and Asteria Network Controller (AFC), cloud administrators can carry out the following operations on the cloud data center networks: centralized control, auto-configuration, one-click deployment, topology discovery, and automate software installation and upgrade. Furthermore, the integration of AFC with OpenStack / Kubernetes would allow cloud computing to automate and flexibly dispatch networking resources and make networking service as one of the truly high-value services in the cloud data centers.
AsterNOS provides multiple layers of reliability assurance mechanisms as follows：