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Data Center Infrastructure

Edgecore Claims Open Networking Hardware Crown

Edgecore Networks isn't a well-recognized name in communications service provider (CSP) networking circles just yet, but it soon will be.

The company, a subsidiary of Taiwanese ODM giant Accton Technology Corp. , has developed open networking systems with major names such as Facebook , is working with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) on its next-generation central office strategy and is a major contributor to the Open Compute Project (OCP) the Facebook-backed open source hardware initiative that looks set to have a major impact on CSP strategies.

Its latest headline move at the OCP has been to contribute the design of its Open Modular Platform, a 100GigEthernet switch targeted at data center operators that has been developed to support open source and commercial software and integrate emerging hardware elements with the aim of reducing capex, integration costs and power consumption. Bill Burger, director of business development at Edgecore Networks Corp. , claims this is the highest capacity contribution to OCP to date and that Edgecore is "the leader in contributions to OCP" in general, having previously contributed 1GigE, 10GigE, 40GigE and 100GigE designs. (See Edgecore Offers 100G Open Network Modular Switch Design to OCP.)

"This is the highest capacity open network modular switch available today -- no other product like this has been contributed to the open networking community," claims Burger, who says there are plenty of other 100GigE switches out there but those are proprietary and, unlike the Open Modular Platform, "not open to software partners." He adds that the modular switch, which comes in two options -- the 10RU OMP 800 with 25.6 Tbit/s capacity and the 20RU OMP 1600 with 51.2 Tbit/s capacity -- already supports a range of open source software (including Open Network Install Environment, Open Network Linux, OpenSwitch and Software for Open Networking in the Cloud) and commercial software from Big Switch Networks , Cumulus Networks and Pica8 Inc.

The vendor is also contributing to OCP the design of its AS5912 edge switch line, which Burger says is applicable to CSPs looking to deliver Ethernet services to business customers from central office locations. "Many telcos are starting to adopt open source technology," states Burger.

The company has also launched and contributed to OCP a range of open networking WiFi access points -- "these are a first… there have been no open WiFi access points up to now" -- and access network switches for enterprise users. The current WiFi access points are based on Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) chips but Edgecore is also working with Realtek Semiconductor Inc. and Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) to offer alternatives. (See Edgecore Unveils 'Open' Access Switches & WiFi Access Points.)

Edgecore's engagement with OCP has already paid off, as Edgecore is already producing the commercial implementation of Facebook's Wedge 16-X bare metal switch, and will also commercially produce the Wedge100 switch (32 ports of 100GigE) designed and contributed to OCP by Facebook.

It is also providing leaf and spine switches to AT&T as the Tier 1 operator continues to develop plans for some of its prime real estate based on the principles of the Central Office Re-Architected as a Data Center (CORD) project. (See AT&T to Show Off Next-Gen Central Office and The Data Center Dilemma.)

Burger says Edgecore is engaged with a number of other as yet unidentified CSPs in North American and Europe, either directly or through industry bodies such as the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and ON.Lab .

This has been a busy week for Edgecore, which earlier this week announced a partnership with SDN specialist PlumGrid Inc. (See PLUMgrid, Edgecore Team Up for OpenStack Cloud Offering.)

Edgecore is convinced it can develop and grow a meaningful business around open networking platforms because the demand from software and applications developers that want to innovate on open-source friendly hardware is growing rapidly, and that in turn is building a market with webscale, enterprise and CSP players that are seeking greater ways to innovate and avoid vendor lock-in. That optimism is backed up by the growing interest in OCP from the telco community: A host of major CSP names joined the OCP Telco Project, which was announced in January. (See Major Telcos Join Facebook's Open Compute Project.)

And as an extension of that development, some of those same telcos, including Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) and SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM), joined the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) consortium set up in late February by Facebook. (See Facebook TIPs Telcos Towards Open Source Networks.)

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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