Switch Software Overview

Mellanox Open Ethernet switch portfolio is introducing a variety of Network Operating Systems (NOS) to allow independent best of breed selection of both software and hardware.

Ranging from the home grown MLNX-OS through vendor specific and down to native Linux operating systems, this variety provides users with the flexibility to choose the switch software which best suit their needs and preference with the ability to alter their choice without changing the hardware platforms in use.

The availability of Linux kernel driver for Mellanox switch hardware enables users to also natively install and use any standard Linux distribution as the switch operating system and deploy their own or 3rd party Linux networking applications over Mellanox switches.

Switch OEMs, NOS vendors or any other users may also develop their own switch software on top of Mellanox Software Development Kit (SDK) or the standard Switch Abstraction Layer (SAI).


Mellanox's MLNX-OS management software solution provides full chassis management and embedded Subnet Manager (SM) for Mellanox's SwitchX based next generation managed switches family. With MLNX-OS running on the switch, IT managers will see a higher return on their compute and storage infrastructure investment through higher utilization, throughput and availability.

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Cumulus Linux embodies native Linux networking. Supercharged versions of the kernel and other networking related packages encompass the latest industry thinking in networking while retaining compatibility with the full range of software available in Debian. SN2000 series running Cumulus Linux provide standard networking functions such as bridging, routing, VLANs, MLAGs, IPv4/IPv6, OSPF/BGP, access control,VRF and VxLAN overlays. Cumulus-Linux running on top of Mellanox SN2000 series is a perfect fit for customers with need for automated-cloud deployments, Layer-3 to the server deployments and "infrastructure as Code" data-centers.

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Switchdev, a Linux kernel driver model for Ethernet switches, enables users to natively install and use any standard Linux distribution as the switch operating system on the Open Ethernet Mellanox Spectrum switch platforms and ASIC

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Switch Software Development Kit

The Switch Software Development Kit (SDK), compatible with Mellanox's SwitchX-2, Switch-IB and Spectrum switch ICs, allows switch OEMs and Network Operating System (NOS) vendors to bring to market cost-effective solutions allowing LAN, SAN and IPC traffic to co-exist across a single fabric.

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SAI, Switch Abstraction Interface, defines the API to provide a hardware-independent layer of controlling Switch ASIC in a uniform manner. SAI is part of the Open Compute Project (OCP). SAI is an open-source project which is managed under https://github.com/opencomputeproject/SAI