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Linux Foundation Announces Open Programmable Infrastructure Project to Drive Open Standards for New Class of Cloud Native Infrastructure

Data Processing and Infrastructure Processing Units – DPU and IPU – are changing the way enterprises deploy and manage compute resources across their networks.

SAN FRANCISCO, June 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the new Open Programmable Infrastructure (OPI) Project. OPI will foster a community-driven, standards-based open ecosystem for next-generation architectures and frameworks based on DPU and IPU technologies. OPI is designed to facilitate the simplification of network, storage and security APIs within applications to enable more portable and performant applications in the cloud and datacenter across DevOps, SecOps and NetOps.

Founding members of OPI include Dell Technologies, F5, Intel, Keysight Technologies, Marvell, NVIDIA and Red Hat with a growing number of contributors representing a broad range of leading companies in their fields ranging from silicon and device manufactures, ISVs, test and measurement partners, OEMs to end users.

"When new technologies emerge, there is so much opportunity for both technical and business innovation but barriers often include a lack of open standards and a thriving community to support them," said Mike Dolan, senior vice president of Projects at the Linux Foundation. "DPUs and IPUs are great examples of some of the most promising technologies emerging today for cloud and datacenter, and OPI is poised to accelerate adoption and opportunity by supporting an ecosystem for DPU and IPU technologies."

DPUs and IPUs are increasingly being used to support high-speed network capabilities and packet processing for applications like 5G, AI/ML, Web3, crypto and more because of their flexibility in managing resources across networking, compute, security and storage domains. Instead of the servers being the infrastructure unit for cloud, edge or the data center, operators can now create pools of disaggregated networking, compute and storage resources supported by DPUs, IPUs, GPUs, and CPUs to meet their customers' application workloads and scaling requirements.

OPI will help establish and nurture an open and creative software ecosystem for DPU and IPU-based infrastructures. As more DPUs and IPUs are offered by various vendors, the OPI Project seeks to help define the architecture and frameworks for the DPU and IPU software stacks that can be applied to any vendor's hardware offerings. The OPI Project also aims to foster a rich open source application ecosystem, leveraging existing open source projects, such as DPDK, SPDK, OvS, P4, etc., as appropriate. The project intends to:

  • Define DPU and IPU,
  • Delineate vendor-agnostic frameworks and architectures for DPU- and IPU-based software stacks applicable to any hardware solutions,
  • Enable the creation of a rich open source application ecosystem,
  • Integrate with existing open source projects aligned to the same vision such as the Linux kernel, and,
  • Create new APIs for interaction with, and between, the elements of the DPU and IPU ecosystem, including hardware, hosted applications, host node, and the remote provisioning and orchestration of software

With several working groups already active, the initial technology contributions will come in the form of the Infrastructure Programmer Development Kit (IPDK) that is now an official sub-project of OPI governed by the Linux Foundation. IPDK is an open source framework of drivers and APIs for infrastructure offload and management that runs on a CPU, IPU, DPU or switch. In addition, NVIDIA DOCA, an open source software development framework for NVIDIA's BlueField DPU, will be contributed to OPI to help developers create applications that can be offloaded, accelerated, and isolated across DPUs, IPUs, and other hardware platforms.

For more information visit: https://opiproject.org; start contributing here: https://github.com/opiproject/opi.

Founding Member Comments

Geng Lin, EVP and Chief Technology Officer, F5
"The emerging DPU market is a golden opportunity to reimagine how infrastructure services can be deployed and managed. With collective collaboration across many vendors representing both the silicon devices and the entire DPU software stack, an ecosystem is emerging that will provide a low friction customer experience and achieve portability of services across a DPU enabled infrastructure layer of next generation data centers, private clouds, and edge deployments."

Patricia Kummrow, CVP and GM, Ethernet Products Group, Intel
Intel is committed to open software to advance collaborative and competitive ecosystems and is pleased to be a founding member of the Open Programmable Infrastructure project, as well as fully supportive of the Infrastructure Processor Development Kit (IPDK) as part of OPI. We look forward to advancing these tools, with the Linux Foundation, fulfilling the need for a programmable infrastructure across cloud, data center, communication and enterprise industries making it easier for developers to accelerate innovation and advance technological developments.

Ram Periakaruppan, VP and General Manager, Network Test and Security Solutions Group, Keysight Technologies
"Programmable infrastructure built with DPUs/IPUs enables significant innovation for networking, security, storage and other areas in disaggregated cloud environments. As a founding member of the Open Programmable Infrastructure Project, we are committed to providing our test and validation expertise as we collaboratively develop and foster a standards-based open ecosystem that furthers infrastructure development, enabling cloud providers to maximize their investment."

Cary Ussery, Vice President, Software and Support, Processors, Marvell
Data center operators across multiple industry segments are increasingly incorporating DPUs as an integral part of their infrastructure processing to offload complex workloads from general purpose to more robust compute platforms. Marvell strongly believes that software standardization in the ecosystem will significantly contribute to the success of workload acceleration solutions. As a founding member of the OPI Project, Marvell aims to address the need for standardization of software frameworks used in provisioning, lifecycle management, orchestration, virtualization and deployment of workloads.

Kevin Deierling, vice president of Networking at NVIDIA
"The fundamental architecture of data centers is evolving to meet the demands of private and hyperscale clouds and AI, which require extreme performance enabled by DPUs such as the NVIDIA BlueField and open frameworks such as NVIDIA DOCA. These will support OPI to provide BlueField users with extreme acceleration, enabled by common, multi-vendor management and applications. NVIDIA is a founding member of the Linux Foundation's Open Programmable Infrastructure Project to continue pushing the boundaries of networking performance and accelerated data center infrastructure while championing open standards and ecosystems."

Erin Boyd, director of emerging technologies, Red Hat
"As a founding member of the Open Programmable Infrastructure project, Red Hat is committed to helping promote, grow and collaborate on the emergent advantage that new hardware stacks can bring to the cloud-native community, and we believe that the formalization of OPI into the Linux Foundation is an important step toward achieving this in an open and transparent fashion. Establishing an open standards-based ecosystem will enable us to create fully programmable infrastructure, opening up new possibilities for better performance, consumption, and the ability to more easily manage unique hardware at scale."

About the Linux Foundation

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation and its projects are supported by more than 1,800 members and is the world's leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation's projects are critical to the world's infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, Hyperledger, RISC-V, and more. The Linux Foundation's methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information, please visit us at linuxfoundation.org.

The Linux Foundation has registered trademarks and uses trademarks. For a list of trademarks of The Linux Foundation, please see its trademark usage page: www.linuxfoundation.org/trademark-usage. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. Red Hat is a registered trademark of Red Hat, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and other countries.

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