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Today, I had the pleasure of addressing the Open Compute Project (OCP) U.S. Summit to speak about the advantages of an open approach to cloud computing and share Microsoft’s latest innovation with the community.

Microsoft’s open source journey began more than 10 years ago and we’ve been a significant and growing contributor to open source projects ever since – particularly on Microsoft Azure, where we support numerous open source programming models, libraries, and Linux distributions. In fact, more than 25 percent of all virtual machines deployed in Azure are Linux-based, up from 20 percent just six months ago.

Joining the OCP in 2014 was another important step in our open source journey. Since then, we contributed the Open CloudServer specification (OCS), sharing the very same server and datacenter designs that power our own Azure hyper-scale cloud, so organizations of all sizes can take advantage of our innovations in order to improve the performance, efficiency, power consumption and costs of their datacenters.

As part of sharing our datacenter designs, we’ve also contributed technologies that showcase the software-defined networking (SDN) principles of speed and scale-out that serve as Azure’s backbone. For example, in July 2015 the OCP accepted our contribution of the Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI) specification. SAI came about as a way to help network infrastructure providers integrate software with hardware platforms that are continually and rapidly evolving at cloud speed and scale. With SAI, organizations have the freedom to pick and choose the most optimal combination of hardware and software for their particular networking needs. Via an open, standardized API, SAI helps these organizations stay on top of managing and deploying their networking software, while reducing their overall time to market and allowing them to adopt the latest available hardware in their datacenters.

This year we’re taking these benefits a step further through a new innovation that we are proposing for contribution to OCP – Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC). SONiC is a collection of software networking components required to build network devices like switches. Together with SAI, SONiC will enable cloud operators to take advantage of hardware innovation while giving them a framework to build upon an open source code for apps on the network switch and gain the ability to integrate with multiple platforms. In short, we believe it’s the final piece of the puzzle in delivering a fully open sourced switch platform that can share the same software stack across hardware from multiple switch vendors. SONiC is being joined by contributions from Arista, Broadcom, Dell and Mellanox, and you can read more about it here.

True to its name, SONiC is about cloud speed and scale – and because it can easily extend with other open source, third party or proprietary software components, it can ultimately speed time to market and greatly improve datacenter efficiencies. By contributing SONiC as an open source project to the community on our GitHub repository under an open source license and proposing it for OCP inclusion today, we are furthering our history of contributing datacenter innovations to the community – to share the designs and technologies that power our own world-class cloud infrastructure, to enable an open, community-driven approach to innovation, and help develop an industry-wide ecosystem for the networking space via OCP.

Follow these links learn more about the OCP, view details of OCP U.S. Summit 2016 or more about Microsoft’s open source programs.

You can also view my keynote address below.

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