Make a Digital Twin of your Data Center with SONiC running on NVIDIA Air

We have made it incredibly easy to try-out a full multi-switch network fabric using the Microsoft SONiC operating system – in a virtual data center that is available to anyone free of charge.

Testing out new network gear and running proof of concept (POC) tests for new technology can be difficult at the best of times, but in today’s environment, it’s even harder. We have made it incredibly easy to try-out a full multi-switch network fabric using the Microsoft SONiC operating system – in a virtual data center that is available to anyone free of charge.

Data centers serve a crucial role in business growth and organizations aim to adopt the emerging open networking mindset to enable flexibility to suit their unique business needs and operations.

For an open networking data center to occur, IT departments need to train their staff to plan their networking core replacement and predict future challenges in a relatively short time.

NVIDIA supports “Pure SONiC”, a fully open-source version of SONiC. The Pure SONiC NOS would be ideal for IT departments who don’t want to have another proprietary NOS and want to have full control and flexibility in their data center. Being one of the most significant contributors to “SONiC”, NVIDIA has launched the “SONiC Air” platform to support organizations before a transition using a digital twin and provide an entire network experience. 

What’s Supported?

  • Full CLI and API functionality
  • Control plane software including BGP, VLANs and containers
  • Automation and Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP)
  • Network monitoring with streaming telemetry
  • Interop testing between NVIDIA Cumulus Linux and SONiC
  • Custom topologies and network designs

Using “SONiC Air” enables flexibility in the evaluation process, eliminating the limitations of having a small POC that is not representative of the production environment. Staff can use the platform for free, build an exact network digital twin, validate configurations, confirm security policies or test CI/CD pipelines. In addition to CLI access, the platform provides full software functionality and access to the system core components such as docker containers and APIs. On the other hand, since the platform is software-based it doesn’t support hardware features like “What Just Happened”, to let the end-user know why the ASIC has dropped a packet and assist in troubleshooting.

Beyond POCs, with NVIDIA Air, customers can build a tailor-made network topology, define any connectivity, and create configurations and automation for the initial deployment and ongoing operations, before any hardware even ships. Today’s customers are building their entire network with a digital twin and enabling services the same day equipment is installed.


Organizations who choose to define their workflow pipelines in advance can dramatically reduce the transition time to an open networking product deployed and fully operational in their production environment and save on both CapEx and OpEx in the long term.

Organizations can use NVIDIA Air for end-to-end evaluation and testing, combining the network,servers and applications. NVIDIA Air not only supports SONiC and Cumulus Linux on the network but also Ubuntu and Red Hat servers. Leveraging Infrastructure As Code, the platform supports integration with production’s CI/CD pipeline and version control repository to test the integrations and build the code for their future production environment. 

Staff training 

Training resources are always a challenge for IT departments. With the use of NVIDIA Air, IT teams can now give every team member their own private replica of the production environment to learn on. No more waiting for hardware resources to be racked and stacked or balancing limited lab time across multiple users

Get started

Customers who want to try SONiC in NVIDIA Air can watch the “SONiC experience” on-demand, hands-on workshop to help them get started. The workshop covers the basics of SONiC architecture, configuration and troubleshooting. We demystify the SONiC microservices architecture and highlight the different configuration approaches available in SONiC. The hands-on lab provides a step-by-step guide to build and configure a leaf-spine SONiC network from the ground up.


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