AT&T today announced that Israeli start-up DriveNets is providing its software-based, disaggregated core routing solution for the carrier’s IP-MPLS backbone network. AT&T also said it had deployed its “next gen long haul 400G optical transport platform, giving AT&T the network infrastructure needed to transport the tsunami of demand that will be generated by 5G, fiber-based broadband and entertainment content services in the years ahead.” [Long haul is for distances >= 600km. AT&T did not name its 40G optical tranport vendor]
DriveNets says their Network Cloud solution perfectly fits the vision of AT&T and other leading service providers and cloud hyperscalers for the evolution of the network to be open, agile, cost effective and software based. DriveNets Network Cloud is cloud-native software (not open source software). It’s a software solution which runs over a cluster of low-cost white box routers and compute servers. It has its own Network Operating System (NOS) and turns the physical network into a shared resource supporting multiple network services in the most efficient way.
Indeed, Network Cloud runs on standard white boxes built by ODM partners like UfiSpace who provided the white boxes to AT&T, based on the Jericho2 chipset from Broadcom. This approach creates a new economic model for the networking industry, lowering cost per bit and improving network profitability.
“We’re thrilled about this opportunity to work with AT&T on their next gen core network, and proud of our engineers for meeting AT&T’s rigorous certification process that field-prove the quality of our solution,” said Ido Susan, CEO of DriveNets. “This announcement demonstrates to those who questioned the disaggregated network model that our Network Cloud is more scalable and cost-efficient than traditional hardware-centric routers. DriveNets is transforming the network in the same way that VMware transformed the compute and storage industry” he added.
“I’m proud to announce today that we have now deployed a next gen IP/MPLS core routing platform into our production network based on the open hardware designs we submitted to OCP last fall,” said Andre Fuetsch, AT&T’s CTO of Network Services, in his keynote speech at the Open Networking and Edge Summit (ONES). “We chose DriveNets, a disruptive supplier, to provide the Network Operating System (NOS) software for this core use case.”
One year ago, AT&T contributed an open source specification for a distributed disaggregated chassis (DDC)to the Open Compute Project (OCP). The DDC was intended to define a standard set of configurable building blocks to construct service provider-class routers, ranging from single line card systems, a.k.a. “pizza boxes,” to large, disaggregated chassis clusters. It is a a white box design based on Broadcom’s Jericho2 silicon. AT&T said the Jericho2 chip set provide the density, scale and features needed to support the requirements of a service provider.
The white box hardware was designed and manufactured by Taiwan based UfiSpace. It consists of three components: a 40x100G line card system, 10x400G line card system, and a 48x400G fabric system. These building blocks can be deployed in various configurations to build routers with capacity anywhere between 4 Tbps to 192 Tbps.
DriveNets Network Cloud solution and its innovative Network Operating System (NOS) software is NOT open source/open networking. It provides the management and control of the white box hardware. It supports a sophisticated set of traffic engineering features that enable highly reliable and efficient MPLS transport for our global, multi-service core backbone. The software then connects into AT&T’s centralized SDN controller that optimizes the routing of traffic across the core.
DriveNets Network Cloud offers extreme capacity and scale for networking service providers and cloud hyperscalers, supporting small to largest core, aggregation and peering network services. DriveNets Network Cloud runs over scalable physical clusters ranging from 4 Tbps (single box) to 768 Tbps (large cluster of 192 boxes), acting as a single router entity. This model is designed to offer both network scaling flexibility, similar to cloud architectures, as well as the ability to add new service offerings and scale them efficiently across the entire network.
“We are pleased to see the broad adoption of Jericho2 products across the networking industry combined with the innovative DriveNets Network Cloud software,” said Ram Velaga, senior vice president and general manager, Core Switching Group, Broadcom. “AT&T’s submission of the Distributed Disaggregation Chassis white box architecture based on Jericho2 is making a big impact on driving the networking industry forward,” he added.
“UfiSpace has been among the first who committed to opening the networking model, starting with our disaggregated cell site gateway routers which we have already demonstrated with AT&T at the Open Networking Summit (ONS) last April.” said Vincent Ho, CEO UfiSpace. “We are proud that AT&T’s core routing platform will utilize our white box solution where we can take part in the largest live Dis-Aggregated network in the world.”
In an email to Light Reading, Drivenets’ Mr. Susan wrote: “This is the largest backbone network in the U.S. and DriveNets Network Cloud is deployed across the entire network, running over multiple large white box clusters in many core and aggregation locations of the AT&T network. Each one of these large clusters contains 192 white boxes from UfiSpace. The DriveNets Network Cloud Network Operating System (NOS) turn these large clusters of 192 white boxes into a single router entity. These large router entities are deployed in many locations at the AT&T network.”
Performing as the best in class router when it comes to stability, reliability and availability, DriveNets Network Cloud is the largest router in the market today. DriveNets is engaged with 18 service providers and hyperscalers and is already on the path to becoming one of the leading networking vendors in the market. Last week, DriveNets announced lab testing of a 192Tbps distributed router by a European operator.
DriveNets Network Cloud created a new SaaS-based network economic model that detaches network growth from network cost, lowering cost per bit and improving network profitability. This disruptive business model assists service providers and cloud hyperscalers in reducing both network CapEx and OpEx.
“AT&T has a rigorous certification process that challenged my engineers to their limits, and we are delighted to take the project to the next level with deployment into the production network,” said Drivenets’ Susan.
Today’s white box with core routing software announcement is just the first of many from AT&T we may see in the near future. AT&T’s Fuetsch wrote in the press release, “In the coming weeks, we’ll announce additional software suppliers for other use cases operating on the same hardware, demonstrating the maturity of the eco-system and power of openness.”
Expect forthcoming AT&T white box related announcements to be on Provider Edge routers for which the carrier alluded to when releasing its DDC spec to the OCP.
by Ofer Weill, Director of Product Marketing at DriveNets; edited and augmented by Alan J Weissberger
Networking software startup DriveNets announced in February that it had raised $110 million in first round (Series A) of venture capital funding. With headquarters in Ra’anana, Israel, DriveNets’ cloud-based service, called Network Cloud, simplifies the deployment of new services for carriers at a time when many telcos are facing declining profit margins. Bessemer Venture Partners and Pitango Growth are the lead VC investors in the round, which also includes money from an undisclosed number of private angel investors.
DriveNets was founded in 2015 by telco experts Ido Susan and Hillel Kobrinsky who are committed to creating the best performing CSP Networks and improving its economics. Network Cloud was designed and built for CSPs (Communications Service Providers), addressing their strict resilience, security and QoS requirements, with zero compromise.
“We believe Network Cloud will become the networking model of the future,” said DriveNets co-founder and CEO Ido Susan, in a statement. “We’ve challenged many of the assumptions behind traditional routing infrastructures and created a technology that will allow service providers to address their biggest challenges like the exponential capacity growth, 5G deployments and low-latency AI applications.”’
Network Cloud does not use open-source code. It’s an “unbundled” networking software solution, which runs over a cluster of low-cost white box routers and white box x86 based compute servers. DriveNets has developed its own Network Operating System (NOS) rather than use open source or Cumulus’ NOS as several other open networking software companies have done.
Fully disaggregated, its shared data plane scales-out linearly with capacity demand. A single Network Cloud can encompass up to 7,600 100Gb ports in its largest configuration. Its control plane scales up separately, consolidating any service and routing protocol.
Network Cloud data-plane is created from just two building blocks white boxes – NCP for packet forwarding and NCF for fabric, shrinking operational expenses by reducing the number of hardware devices, software versions and change procedures associated with building and managing the network. The two white-boxes (NCP and NCF) are based on Broadcom’s Jericho2 chipset which has high-speed, high-density port interfaces of 100G and 400G bits/sec. A single virtual chassis for max ports might have this configuration: 30720 x 10G/25G / 7680 x 100G / 1920 x 400G bits/sec.
Last month, DriveNets disaggregated router added 400G-port routing support (via whitebox routers using the aforementioned Broadcom chipset). The latest Network Cloud hardware and software is now being tested and certified by an undisclosed tier-1 Telco customer.
“Just like hyper-scale cloud providers have disaggregated hardware and software for maximum agility, DriveNets is bringing a similar approach to the service provider router market. It is impressive to see it coming to life, taking full advantage of the strength and scale of our Jericho2 device,” said Ram Velaga, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Switch Products Division at Broadcom.
Network Cloud control-plane runs on a separate compute server and is based on containerized microservices that run different routing services for different network functions (Core, Edge, Aggregation, etc.). Where they are co-located, service-chaining allows sharing of the same infrastructure for all router services.
Multi-layer resiliency, with auto failure recovery, is a key feature of Network Cloud. There is inter-router redundancy and geo-redundancy of control to select a new end to end path by routing around points of failure.
Network Cloud’s orchestration capabilities include Zero Touch Provisioning, full life cycle management and automation, as well as superior diagnostics with unmatched transparency. These are illustrated in the figures below:
Image Courtesy of DriveNets
Future New Services:
Network Cloud is a platform for new revenue generation. For example, adding 3rd party services as separate micro-services, such as DDoS Protection, Managed LAN to WAN, Network Analytics, Core network and Edge network.
“Unlike existing offerings, Network Cloud has built a disaggregated router from scratch. We adapted the data-center switching model behind the world’s largest clouds to routing, at a carrier-grade level, to build the world’s largest Service Providers’ networks. We are proud to show how DriveNets can rapidly and reliably deploy technological innovations at that scale,” said Ido Susan CEO and Co-Founder of DriveNets in a press release.