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What will the networks be like in the future? How will you improve your management in the data center? What new challenges will professionals face in this field? To answer these questions, the main companies in the sector held a few days ago Future: Net 2021 symposium, a meeting that brought together managers from companies such as Cisco, Google or Microsoft, as well as analysts from firms such as Gartner and 451 Research.

One of the main conclusions reached was that in the new generation of business networking, more Open-Source components, advanced programming capabilities or the development of “as a service” networks can be expected.

In other words, in the near future, what is expected in the Data Center is that professionals will have at their disposal many more software tools with which to manage how their network environments behave (and are programmed).

One of the most promising technologies in this area is the open-source operating system, “Software for Open Networking in the Cloud”, also known as SONiC.

Based on Linux and developed by Microsoft, this NOS (Networking Operating System), decouples the network software from the underlying hardware and allows it to run on switches and ASICs from different manufacturers, while supporting a full set of network functions, such as Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) or Quality of Service (QoS).

And although it is relatively new, the truth is that there is a desire to implement it, due to all the technical advances that it implies. In fact, according to a report by Gartner itself, by 2025, 40% of organizations operating data center networks with more than 200 switches will already be using SONiC in production. According to the same consulting firm, the interest shown by companies in this NOS has increased by no less than 87% in the last year.

So has the number of companies that are part of the ecosystem and among them are already Dell, Arista, Apstra, Alibaba, Comcast, Cisco, Broadcom, Juniper, Edgecore, Innovium, IP Infusion, Huawei, Nvidia-Mellanox and VMware.

However, this is not the only great novelty that has been valued throughout the symposium. In the field of open technologies, projects such as Open vSwitch (OVS), Facebook’s Open Switching system (FBOSS) or developments such as OpenConfig and Free-Range Routing (FRR) have also stood out.

In the future, experts such as Vijoy Pandey, vice president and CTO of Cisco Cloud, explain, “Nobody will configure networks, only applications will configure. Increasingly, we are going to autonomous and programmable networks that take care of themselves, because the challenge of configuration is going to move to the application layer.