Microsoft has released the Azure Cloud Switch (ACS), a cross-platform modular OS for data centre networking built on Linux.
The company said the ACS allows to debug, fix, and test software bugs much faster, also giving the flexibility to scale down the software and develop features that are required for Microsoft’s data centre and networking needs.
Microsoft added that the solution allows to share the same software stack across hardware from multiple switch vendors. This is done via the Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI) specification, the first open-standard C API for programming network switching ASICs, of the Open Compute Project (OCP).
In a blog post, the company said it views SAI as an instrumental piece to make the ACS a success. It explained that the SAI allows software to program multiple switch chips without any changes, thus making the base router platform simple, consistent, and stable.
A standardised API also allows network hardware vendors to develop innovative hardware architectures to achieve great speeds while keeping the programming interface consistent.
Additionally, SAI also enables open and easier software development of features, stacks, and applications.
Kamala Subramaniam, principal architect for Azure networking at Microsoft, said: "What the cloud and enterprise networks find challenging is integrating the radically different software running on each different type of switch into a cloud-wide network management platform.
"Ideally, we would like all the benefits of the features we have implemented and the bugs we have fixed to stay with us, even as we ride the tide of newer switch hardware innovation."
The new OS comes 14 years after former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in an interview that Linux is a cancer.
He said: "Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.
"The way the license is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source."