2020 – Network Disaggregation Picks up Momentum

2020 has certainly been an interesting year for all of us. And the telecom industry was no different. COVID-19 has created new ways of working and placed new bandwidth demands in a hyper-accelerated digital era.

“In the telecoms history books, the 2020s are likely to be seen as the decade when telecoms network architectures got overhauled, disaggregated, virtualized and opened up in a way that operators had only dreamed about previously, with ‘white box’ networking finally making its way from pockets of communications networks to spread across entire deployments, public and private,” said Ray LeMaistre, editorial director at TelecomTV.

As we approach the holidays and prepare to put 2020 behind us (good grief), we can also see some progress that has resulted from the challenges imposed by COVID-19. 2020 has also been a year that we witnessed disaggregation in the network gain momentum and greater acceptance, laying the groundwork for wide growth in the year ahead.


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Here are the top 10 disaggregation milestones from this past year:

#10 The Industry Awarded Disaggregation

 

#9 Growing the Disaggregation Ecosystem

The open ecosystem for disaggregation is growing:

  • Broadcom (which announced their new Jericho2c+)
  • UfiSpace, Edgecore Networks and Delta for networking white boxes
  • Optical vendors
  • System integrators such as KGPCo and others

 

#8 Bank of America Issued Report about Network Disaggregation: White Box Routing is Transforming Networking

In April,  Bank of America’s (BofA) Global Research team issued a Primer paper on white box routing.

  • White box routing is a disruptive technology that can radically transform the networking space in the same way that VMware disrupted the server market
  • Initiatives also taken by Cisco, Juniper, Nokia and a few startups in the space
  • DriveNets technology solution brings innovation and disruption to the market.
  • DriveNets Network Cloud stacks a number of white boxes into a cluster that acts as a single router, eliminating the need for multiple router sizes and modules.

 

#7 Analysts Recognize Disaggregated Networking

This year saw a shift towards support from Leading industry analysts for more disaggregated network architectures.

  • 650 Group“Disaggregated routing and the consumption model associated with it will become a significant portion of the Router market over the next several years and create a significant opportunity for vendors that embrace the transformation.”
  • Futuriom – “The game has now shifted to distributed, cloud-based routing, which Futuriom believes will play a major role in powering high-performance multi-cloud networks.”
  • Gartner – The 2020 Gartner Hype Cycle discusses various technologies intended for improving CSPs operational efficiency, noting that “Network Disaggregation” is at a peak (ready for mass adoption).
  • CIMICorp – Tom Nolle, “I think that any credible open-model network strategy has to provide software/hardware disaggregation and control/data-plane separation. I think any strategy aimed at high-capacity missions, even metro-level aggregation, will have to be composited from multiple white boxes.”
  • AvidThinkRoy Chua, “I find it notable that Cisco’s IOS-XR with DDC is being used at the edge and for peering, while DriveNets’ software was deployed in the core, albeit not across all locations. An interesting reversal of roles and not something I would have expected even five years ago.”
  • ACG Research – Ray Mota, “The communication industry is moving to an open disaggregated, multi-vendor approach. Industry initiatives such as OCP, O-RAN, DDC and TIP are taking that direction. CSPs such as AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink have been advocating their white-box disaggregated approach for quite some time.”
  • Heavy ReadingSterling Perrin, Principal Analyst, “We knew there was a lot of interest in disaggregation, but how ready the telecom industry is for radical changes in their IP networks surprised us. The survey results show that operators globally are deeply committed to open technologies and to software-based solutions to improve network profitability and to efficiently scale to meet future network demands.”
  • Analysys Mason – “the 5G ‘dream’ cannot be fulfilled without a 5G standalone core system. The disaggregated networking genie is out of the bottle and it’s not going back in.”

 

#6 Growing list of Startups Involved in Disaggregated Networking

While DriveNets is leading the space, a number of other companies have emerged that provide disaggregated routing platforms at different scale: Arrcus, Aviat Networks, Volta Networks, Exaware, Datacom, Pureport,…

 

#5 Top carriers active in Telecom Infra Project (TIP)

The Telecom Infra Project announced the launch of the Disaggregated Open Routers (DOR) initiative, driving disaggregated open routing among service providers and vendors. Led by top carriers: KDDI and Vodafone.

 

#4 Expanded Use Cases for Disaggregation

The targeted use cases for disaggregation of service provider networks expanded beyond 5G access and include core routers, aggregation, peering, Broadband access, Virtualized customer premises equipment (vCPE), Edge compute and leaf, Spine data center CLOS topologies.

 

#3 Open Compute Project (OCP) Showcases Largest Disaggregated Router

Last fall, AT&T announced that they had submitted their design for several disaggregated open source routing platforms to the Open Compute Project (OCP), with the designs based on the Broadcom Jericho-2 chip. The flexible, disaggregated chassis design, can scale from 4 Tb/s to 192 Tb/s. DriveNets demo of disaggregated software-based router with a cluster size or 96Tbps, (using a mix of 100G and 400G interfaces) along with partners UfiSpace and Credo.

 

#2 Cisco Gets onboard with Disaggregation

On November 16, AT&T announced that they were extending their open disaggregated design to the converged IP Edge, integrating Cisco’s IOS-XR software running on the same Broadcom Jericho2/UfiSpace hardware used on their core network.

  • Cisco’s John Davidson, SVP and General Manager, Cisco Mass-Scale Infrastructure, said, “Network disaggregation not only exemplifies our customer-first approach and our commitment to changing the way we do business but also how we can work together with customers, in true partnership.”
  • Andre Fuetsch, AT&T’s CTO for Network Services, said “This is a really big development in the networking eco-system. This model gives us options and flexibility in our supply chain and enables us to use best-in-breed products whether they come from established or disruptive suppliers.”

 

#1 AT&T announced Disaggregation of their Core Backbone

On September 28th, AT&T announced that a next-gen open dis-aggregated core routing platform has been deployed into their production environment, providing the software-based core routing solution for the largest backbone in the US. An industry landmark  – transforming the networking market to an open cloud architecture  

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