April 18, 2023

Director of Product Marketing

Network Cloud Large Deployments – Lessons Learned – Part 1

DriveNets, founded in 2015, is a rapidly expanding software company that aims to revolutionize the networking industry by building networks like cloud. Since completing our first and largest deployment with AT&T, we have evolved quickly from a small start-up based in downtown Ra’anana (Israel) into a proven vendor capable of delivering network deployments of varying scopes, to numerous customers and partners. This effort has resulted in successful engagements, deployments, and trials with nearly 100 service providers (SPs) worldwide. 

Network Cloud Large Deployments – Lessons Learned – Part 1

Over the past few years, we have gained extensive knowledge, experience, and skills in this dynamic business environment. As a result of this experience, we have observed how service providers are changing many paradigms they once held and embracing new resolutions. 

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NCNF: From Network on a Cloud to Network Cloud

In this two-part blog series, we will review five lessons that service providers have learned from their Cloud Network deployments: 

#1 Service providers seek “software magic” 

We all think we know service providers, we all think that because of their outage anxiety they prioritize smooth operations over exploring potential benefits from new technologies and innovations. However, it seems that due to the highly competitive market and the constant pressure to deliver better performance and higher capacity, service providers, particularly those operating a tier-1 network, are actively seeking for some software magic. A magic that will allow them to be more flexible, cost-effective, and efficient network architecture. They recognize that the traditional, hardware-centric approach is inadequate for keeping up with the increasing demands for data. As a result, when presented with the right solution, service providers are eager to adopt innovative and agile software-based solutions that enable them to quickly adapt to changes in the market and customer needs. 

Two examples of software magic that service providers gladly embraced: 


In network architecture, the principle of “less is more” applies, and by reducing the network building blocks to only the necessary elements improve planning, procurement, stocking, and maintenance. With DriveNets’ network operating system (DNOS), service providers are able to create any network entity based on only two types of white boxes, regardless of its size and capacity. The ability to create a network entity from multiple white boxes and have it operated and behave as a single entity is a game-changer that materialize the dream of simple and flexible network. Such a network can flexibly resize or reshuffle its hardware resources in response to real-time network demands and maximize the hardware utilization. 

Furthermore, the shift from forklifting a chassis to a simplified pizza box operation does also translate into cost as disaggregated and distributed cluster (DDC) solution can offer the same performance as traditional chassis-based solution using less hardware and the hardware that is used is a low cost whitebox. 

“The flexibility to deploy infrastructure using a building block approach. That means it can roll out one “pizza box” in a central office to support something like a small business network or as many as 48 in a cluster for a core switching node.” 

Mike Satterlee, VP, Network Core Infrastructure Services, AT&T 

AT&T VP: Fiber backbone carries 594 PB of traffic per day 


Designing a network architecture with a longer hardware lifespan is a strategic move for service providers to maintain a competitive edge in the market and meet future requirements. Moreover, the hardware lifespan has a direct impact on the cost of operations and profitability. By adopting a future-proof network architecture, service providers can ensure that their network can accommodate new technologies and services, adapt to changing market demands, and ultimately reduce hardware costs in the long run. 

AT&T’s network architecture is a prime example of futureproofing in action. Their current setup utilizes 400G interfaces for their core backbone and 100G uplinks to connect edge nodes to the core. However, with edge nodes already beginning to shift to 400G, AT&T is exploring the possibility of upgrading the core to 800G without any fear. They know that the software capabilities of DriveNets’ hybrid cluster allow for the implementation of new technology without the need to discard the old. With DriveNets’ hybrid cluster, both old and new hardware can coexist seamlessly, enabling service providers to offer cutting-edge technology to their customers while reducing their operational costs. 

#2 Agility in a dynamic live network is possible when done right 

As discussed earlier, service providers are looking for innovative solutions to improve scalability and reduce revenue loss. However, introducing disruptive technologies can have unintended consequences on network performance. Given the potential consequences of network downtime, such as lost revenue, reputational damage, legal liabilities, and brand dilution, service providers need to find ways to be agile in responding to failures. The solution lies with networking vendors who prioritize rapid delivery and short bug lifecycles. Embracing these values can help service providers quickly address problems before they cause significant disruptions or downtime. 

“We enjoy this relationship. We enjoy the disruption. We enjoy the ability to work together and push some boundaries in our ability to deliver not just software, but actually a full service. We can deploy the reliability and the rigor that a telco at our scale needs.” 

Igal Elbaz, Network CTO, AT&T

Talking about Disaggregated Cloud-native Networking at MWC 2023

Service Providers understand the limitations of the incumbents in the networking industry, they operate like sluggish oil tankers and cannot offer the responsiveness that they need. That is why DriveNets agility was highly recognized by our service providers. Despite our significant growth, we remain agile and highly responsive, as we are not bound by legacy solutions or complex portfolios. This agility allows service providers to accelerating innovation and still maintain a more reliable and competitive network. 

However, an important lesson is that this agility can also be a double-edged sword. Hasty software releases and extensive revisions can result in technical debt when development shortcuts are taken, leading to network performance issues. Our service providers were able to utilize the power of our disruptive capabilities because we understand that great power entails great responsibility. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that quality is never compromised for speed. to ensure agility in a dynamic live carrier-grade network, our service providers have found it essential to have a vendor who delivers solutions quickly while also ensuring that they are not compromised by subpar software releases. This combination is critical for maintaining a flexible and responsive network that can adapt to changing environments and circumstances 

Holding the two ends of the software pole 

Service providers who have deployed DriveNets Network Cloud have realized that in order to cope with the explosive growth in global traffic and the decline in revenues, they must push networking vendors to hold the two ends of the software pole. On one hand, they must be able to utilize software innovation and agility to quickly adapt to current and future market requirements and on the other hand, they must maintain high standards of software quality to ensure network reliability. This agility and quality balance is a fundamental part of Drivenets’ DNA, as our goal is to provide a carrier-grade networking solution that combines innovation and reliability. 

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NCNF: From "Network on a Cloud" to "Network Cloud"

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