Light Reading
Facebook's Cisco-killer is nearing reality.

Facebook in Production Testing of Open 'Wedge' Switch

Mitch Wagner
8/28/2014
50%
50%

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- Hot Interconnects -- Facebook is in production testing of its open Wedge switch design, and is on track to contribute the design and software to the Open Compute Project.

Wedge is a "top-of-rack" (small, simple, low-cost) switch with 16 (or 32) 40Gbit/s Ethernet ports, designed to be the "first building block" of the "Facebook disaggregated switching technology," according to a presentation here by Facebook Network Architect Yuval Bachar.

It will be Facebook's first switch contribution to the OCP. It runs FBOSS, a Facebook operating system based on Linux, and can be managed using server tools.

Bachar described the architecture as "hybrid SDN" -- SDN-like, but with some intelligence in the control plane.

"Disaggregation" refers to Facebook's design philosophy "of breaking down traditional data center technologies into their core components so we can build new systems that are more flexible, more scalable and more efficient," Bachar and Adam Simpkins said in a blog post introducing the Wedge switch two months ago.

Facebook needed to build its own switch because it needed more agility than vendors can provide. Facebook changes its requirements on a three-month cycle, faster than OEMs can move. Facebook needs a switch specific to its own data and scalability needs. The company runs hundreds of thousands to millions of servers, Bachar said.

Wedge is not just another white box, Bachar stated; it's the industry's first fully open switch, in both software and hardware. It is standards-based, Ethernet-only, and integrates with the Open Compute architecture, with its subsystem built using the Group Hug computing architecture to which Facebook has contributed.

The Whole Enchilada
The Wedge switch incorporates 16 ports, scalable to 32; two power supplies, one fan; a main board made for CPU rather than graphics processor, and a microserver on top. Source: Facebook.
The Wedge switch incorporates 16 ports, scalable to 32; two power supplies, one fan; a main board made for CPU rather than graphics processor, and a microserver on top. Source: Facebook.

Server-like management and provisioning makes the Wedge particularly suitable for data center environments, Bachar said.

The Wedge builds on work Facebook has been doing with the Open Compute Project to create "open designs for racks, servers, storage boxes and motherboards," Bachar and Simpkins said in their blog post.


Want to know more about SDN? Visit Light Reading's SDN technology content channel.


The Wedge rides a couple of trends driving the networking industry today: SDN, of course, changes the network by putting intelligence in software rather than hardware. That threatens incumbents, especially Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), which profit from selling proprietary hardware. Plenty of companies are already in the SDN market, but Facebook is a powerful contender wherever it plays.

Also, network managers are looking to use more sophisticated data center tools to manage their networks. The Wedge, because it runs a server operating system, offers that potential.

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to wagner@lightreading.com.

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Kruz
50%
50%
Kruz,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/31/2014 | 6:00:36 PM
Re: FBOSS: The Forbin Project
This would be a great innovation in the os realm but I wonder if Facebook can pull this up. I wonder how successful was their last integration with linux: Facebook home.
Atlantis-dude
50%
50%
Atlantis-dude,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/29/2014 | 7:04:36 PM
Outside the DC
Where would its first application be?
jabailo
50%
50%
jabailo,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/28/2014 | 11:19:34 AM
FBOSS: The Forbin Project
Sounds like Facebook is building an autonomous OS!

With "FBOSS," we can also leverage existing Facebook tools for environmental monitoring that give us insight into the systems' performance, like cooling fan behavior, internal temperatures, and voltage levels. These details allow us to accurately determine power usage and efficiency, performance, and predictive maintenance.

https://code.facebook.com/posts/681382905244727/introducing-wedge-and-fboss-the-next-steps-toward-a-disaggregated-network/

Eventually maybe they'll plug us all into it, along with our Friends!

 
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Interviews
Liberty Global Sees Business Goldmine

12|18|14   |     |   (0) comments


Steen Sorensen, VP of business services for Liberty Global, explains where the giant international MSO sees growth potential.
LRTV Documentaries
EE: The Road to 5G

12|16|14   |   16:02   |   (1) comment


Andy Sutton, the principal network architect at UK mobile operator EE, explains how his company is using Wembley stadium as a wireless test bed and how that's helping EE to plan the evolution to 5G.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Highlights of Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014

12|16|14   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei hosted its inaugural NFV Open Cloud Forum during the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Forum brought together technology thought leaders, senior executives and telecom professionals from global carriers, industry associations, as well as other partner companies in the ecosystem, to exchange views on and collectively explore how ...
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing Operators' Digital Vision

12|16|14   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Leveraging technology is fundamental to digital transformation but understanding customers and serving them really well is at the heart of digital businesses. TM Forum lists the following as the strategic pillars of the digital business: business agility and rapid innovation, operational agility and effectiveness, IT and data centricity, plus customer centricity. ...
LRTV Documentaries
US Cellular Injects Analytics Into LTE

12|16|14   |   2:57   |   (1) comment


US Cellular's Mario Vela explains how the operator uses analytics for network planning and what comes next as the carrier looks to eke more value out of its metrics.
LRTV Interviews
How Cox Biz Plans to Keep Growing

12|15|14   |     |   (2) comments


Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business, details how the third-biggest US MSO intends to boost its revenues to $2 billion and beyond over the rest of the decade
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Bill Zhang, Director of SoftCOM Product Management, Huawei

12|15|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Bill Zhang elaborated on Huawei's open philosophy in NFV solution development and network architecture design at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Event Highlights: Huawei at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014

12|15|14   |   3:43   |   (0) comments


Huawei joined the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow Congress as one of the key sponsors and contributors. At the event, Huawei reinforced the openness and flexibility of its network infrastructure strategies, and provided updates on its SDN and NVF innovations. Through participations at the exhibitions, forums and speeches, Huawei encouraged the industry to "think bigger and ...
LRTV Interviews
How Cable Biz Services Hit $10B Mark

12|12|14   |     |   (1) comment


Cable operators reached $10 billion in annual business services revenues by delving deeper into their vertical markets and expanding beyond the smallest firms.
LRTV Documentaries
Mediacom Aims to Test Connected Tractors

12|11|14   |   05:07   |   (3) comments


Cable business service provider is taking its services to the 'agribusiness' sector in partnership with farm equipment specialist John Deere and is getting involved in Gigabit Cities developments.
LRTV Interviews
TWC Business Looks Beyond $3B

12|10|14   |     |   (0) comments


TWC Business Services chief Phil Meeks explains how his unit has reached $3 billion in annual revenues and what its plans are for next year.
LRTV Documentaries
AT&T's New Security Strategy

12|10|14   |   02:36   |   (1) comment


AT&T's Chief Security Officer Ed Amoroso explains how his company is wrapping virtual security layers around micro network domains.
Upcoming Live Events
February 10, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Hot Topics
Vodafone to Ride T-Mobile Back Into US
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/12/2014
1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 12/17/2014
T-Mobile, BlackBerry Flirt With Reuniting
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/17/2014
Gardner's Departure a Cautionary Tale
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 12/12/2014
T-Mobile Lights Up 27 Wideband LTE Cities
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/15/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Upcoming Webinars
Webinar Archive