Cisco has collaborated closely with Microsoft to drive large scale networking. Today, at the launch of Cisco Silicon One and the Cisco 8000, we are happy to share progress we have made together on the fundamental building blocks of open networking.

In in 2016, to address the requirements of running one of the largest clouds in the world, Microsoft announced and open-sourced a major innovation to operate and manage thousands of network devices using open source software, a.k.a Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC).

Since then, SONiC has gained strong momentum in the community and battle tested within one of the world’s largest and most demanding cloud networks.

Instrumental to SONiC adoption is the Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI). Thanks to this abstraction layer, networking vendors can provide a consistent programming interface to their ASICs while developing highly differentiated hardware platforms. In return, hyperscalers can quickly benefit from innovations in silicon, port density, and speed.

Cisco made its first foray into supporting third-party operating systems on its Nexus switches by providing the Cisco Cloud Scale Switch Abstraction Interface, a standards-based ASIC API that enables Microsoft to run their SONiC operating system on Nexus 9200/9300 platforms.

Thanks to our continued collaboration with Microsoft and the SONiC community, today we are announcing SONiC/SAI support on our brand-new routing platforms, the Cisco 8000 Series. This represents the first truly integrated approach to supporting SONiC on both fixed and modular routers.

These new routing platforms deliver provider-class routing functionality at unmatched density, performance, and power. This enables Cisco 8000 Series to be deployed into an unprecedented range of routing roles – all supported with a single ASIC architecture and open operating system – thus streamlining qualification, deployment, and operations.

The Cisco 8000 Series is powered by Cisco Silicon One, the industry’s first routing silicon to break through the 10Tbps benchmark for network bandwidth without compromising on capabilities such as feature richness, large buffers, and advanced programmability. The Cisco Silicon One architecture supports multiple modes of operation. It can function as a Routing-On-Chip, a line card network processor, and a switch fabric element. This flexibility enables consistent software in multiple roles and rapid silicon evolution.

With high-density 100GE and 400GE interfaces and ultra-low power consumption (11 Watts/100Gb), these new platforms are perfectly suited to meet the demanding requirements of hyperscale providers.

Cisco has a strong and long-lasting commitment to offer open APIs at every level of the networking stack and to allow our service provider and web-scale customers to consume innovation in a way that best meets their needs:

“Bringing to market next-generation routing platforms that support the SAI
abstraction layer from day one aligns nicely to our cloud customers’
strategies for managing and operating hyperscale architectures. We are
committed to openness and enthusiastic
to share this latest step in redefining networking.”
– Kevin Wollenweber – Vice President, Product Management, Cisco

By leveraging SAI on the Cisco 8000 Series, hyperscale cloud operators can rapidly onboard these new systems into their network infrastructure while taking advantage of advanced programmability and scale that Cisco Silicon One delivers:

Cisco’s support for SAI on Cisco 8000 modular routing platforms is a major
step forward enabling the SONiC community to combine the latest
innovations in silicon and port speed with the density and power efficiencies
delivered in chassis-based systems. This greatly contributes to the
continuous scale up efforts of cloud infrastructure providers in the face of
unceasing traffic growth.
Yousef Khalidi , CVP, Azure Networking, Microsoft Corp


Get more information on the Cisco 8000 Series



Kevin Wollenweber

SVP/GM, Cisco Networking

Data Center and Provider Connectivity