SONiC Management Utilities

NVIDIA switch hardware management interfaces are implemented by using a virtual file system provided by the Linux kernel called sysfs. The sysfs file system enumerates the devices and buses attached to the system in a file system hierarchy that can be accessed from user space.

The major advantage of working with sysfs is that it makes the hardware hierarchy easy to understand and control without having to learn about a hardware component’s location, and the buses through which they are connected. The sysfs attributes are exposed as symbolic links in the /var/run/hw-management directory at system boot time. This directory contains this structure:

Node PathPurpose
/alarmCritical alarm symbolic links for CPU core temperature readings.
/configConfiguration of related files. It includes information about fan minimum, maximum allowed speed, some default settings, configured delays for different purposes.
/eepromEEPROM-related symbolic links to system, PSU, fan and CPU.
/environmentEnvironment (voltage, current, A2D) related symbolic links.
/ledLED related symbolic links.
/powerPower-related symbolic links.
/sfpHelper scripts that get the current status of SFP and QSFP modules from ethtool.
/systemSystem-related symbolic links for ASIC health, power settings (reset, power on and down, power cycle), CPLD version.
/thermalThermal-related links, including thermal zones. /mlxsw contains ASIC ambient temperature and thermal zone symbolic links. The /mlxsw-moduleX subdirectories contain QSFP module temperature and thermal zone symbolic links.
/watchdogStandard watchdog sysfs attributes.

Platform API/Plugins

NVIDIA switches support both Platform API v2.0 and legacy platform device plugins. The platform APIs or the plugins provide the interfaces access or operate the peripheral devices.

Plugins Supported by NVIDIA Switches

Plugins are implemented for each peripheral device type. SONiC defines base classes, and NVIDIA implements these classes in various plugins including,, and

All platform-specific plugins live on a disk in the SONiC image. The appropriate plugin is loaded at runtime after determining the running platform.

Defined class/categoryAPIsSupported: Yes/No

Platform API v2.0

Platform API v2.0 is a standardized, unified API to interface with all combinations of the devices specified below. The APIs are organized in a hierarchy based on the physical connection of the devices. Peripheral control logic is implemented in user space.

The platform API v2.0 covers these devices:

  • Chassis
  • FAN
  • LED
  • Module component
  • PSU
  • SFP
  • SSD
  • Thermal
  • Watchdog


ethtool is used to query and control network device driver and hardware settings, particularly for wired Ethernet devices. ethtool leverages the mlxsw_minimal driver in the Linux kernel to provide a more convenient way to read QSFP/SFP module information on NVIDIA switches. NVIDIA platform SFP APIs leverage ethtool to get raw data and parse the module related data accordingly.

admin@switch:~$ sudo ethtool -m sfp1
	Identifier                                : 0x0d (QSFP+)
	Extended identifier                       : 0x00
	Extended identifier description           : 1.5W max. Power consumption
	Extended identifier description           : No CDR in TX, No CDR in RX
	Extended identifier description           : High Power Class (> 3.5 W) not enabled
	Connector                                 : 0x23 (No separable connector)
	Transceiver codes                         : 0x08 0x00 0x00 0x00 0x00 0x00 0x00 0x00
	Transceiver type                          : 40G Ethernet: 40G Base-CR4
	Encoding                                  : 0x05 (64B/66B)
	BR, Nominal                               : 10300Mbps
	Rate identifier                           : 0x00
	Length (SMF,km)                           : 0km
	Length (OM3 50um)                         : 0m
	Length (OM2 50um)                         : 0m
	Length (OM1 62.5um)                       : 0m
	Length (Copper or Active cable)           : 1m
	Transmitter technology                    : 0xa0 (Copper cable unequalized)
	Attenuation at 2.5GHz                     : 0db
	Attenuation at 5.0GHz                     : 0db
	Attenuation at 7.0GHz                     : 0db
	Attenuation at 12.9GHz                    : 0db
	Vendor name                               : 10Gtek
	Vendor OUI                                : 00:00:00
	Vendor PN                                 : CAB-Q10/Q10-P1M
	Vendor rev                                : 01
	Vendor SN                                 : WTQ11K10044
	Revision Compliance                       : Revision not specified
	Module temperature                        : 0.00 degrees C / 32.00 degrees F
	Module voltage                            : 0.0000 V

Switch Base MAC Address

NVIDIA switches are assigned with a set of MAC address and the base MAC address is burned to the syseeprom.

The first time a switch boots up, the base MAC address is read from the /host/machine.conf file, which is fed by ONIE and put into config_DB, and the MAC address works as the system’s MAC address of the switch.

For NVIDIA Spectrum 1-based switches, the lowest 6 bits of the base MAC address must be 0. For NVIDIA Spectrum-2 and later switches, the lowest 7 bits must be 0. Keep this value in mind if you customize the switch’s base MAC address for any reason.