I joined DriveNets two and a half years ago since I was captivated by the concept of ‘building networks like cloud’, and its power to significantly change networking – making it as efficient, scalable, and open as a cloud infrastructure. Truly a platform for innovation.
Before joining DriveNets, I was at Cisco, leading the product marketing organization for the enterprise portfolio. Back when I started, Cisco’s legend CEO John Chambers coined the term – ‘The Network is the Platform’, since the network is changing the way people work, live, learn, and play. The Network is a platform for innovation, growth, and opportunity. I still believe in these concepts. However, the Network that brought us here hasn’t changed in years and would not get us there.
In today’s world the new platform is the cloud, enabling new applications and making them more accessible and far-reaching. The cloud also changed market dynamics, enterprises, and consumers’ consumption models, and created new needs. It relies on the network, but it also offers alternatives for parts of it.
Building Networks Like Cloud
DriveNets Network Cloud empowers networks to be groundbreaking again. It built networks just like cloud – software-based, easily scalable (elastically) and multiservice, running over a shared infrastructure of standard white boxes. It also substantially lowered the cost of building and operating high-scale networks. Winning this leading industry award for Best Product validates our vision, just like winning the core backbone of AT&T. It demonstrates that change is not only real, but it’s here to positively transform networks from relying on legacy hardware-centric solutions to cloud software.
Network Cloud multiservice capabilities enable innovation at mega scale and most efficiently. It can change the market dynamics and turn the network into the platform in a more substantial way.
Network Cloud Multiservice
This year’s introduction of DriveNets Network Cloud multiservice solution marks the first time that networks can be efficiently and fully virtualized, allowing multiple services from DriveNets and from third parties to run over a shared infrastructure. In addition, the separation of network hardware and software and the hardware abstraction that is enabled by DriveNets Network Operating System (DNOS) not only enable network virtualization but also allows multiple applications to make the most efficient use of networking and compute resources. It collapses a complex infrastructure of routers and servers/ appliances into a compact software-based solution running on a cluster of white boxes. With that, DriveNets can create a network-aware application marketplace, from which service innovation can only begin.
Four Pillars of Multiservice
This evolution of DriveNets’ Network Cloud brings unique multi-stage disaggregation capabilities to the network, allowing service providers to run any network function, from any vendor, on top of any white box hardware, with significant cost reduction, optimal scaling, and an increased software-paced innovation.
These benefits are achieved through four pillars of DriveNets Network Cloud multiservice solution:
1. Disaggregation (of software and hardware)
Hardware/software disaggregation turns networking challenges into software ones. Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) networking hardware simplifies the physical infrastructure through common and shareable building blocks that cost less and perform better.
2. Distribution (across multiple hardware instances)
For optimal scaling of the network without using multiple sizes and types of white boxes, network functions are distributed across multiple boxes. They use an intelligent abstraction layer that takes a cluster of white boxes and combines their resources into a single pool. This is done at the software level, abstracting the underlining distributed hardware resources from the service instance that runs above. With that, it is possible to use just a couple of hardware building blocks to build a router of any scale by simply multiplying those building blocks in the cluster.
3. Multiple software instances
Multiple services can run in a cloud-native architecture over this shared infrastructure through the Network Cloud hypervisor layer which is part of our DNOS (DriveNets Network Operating System), leveraging cross-service synergies and fully utilizing hardware resources. These service instances run as standard cloud containers and are easy to deploy and manage, isolated from events in other parts of the infrastructure.
Orchestration and automation are key to the successful operation of a distributed disaggregated multiservice network. Providing multiple views to network operation functions simplify the handling of separate hardware and software instances, while automating the upgrades and troubleshooting of the network and services. In addition, the orchestration system provides a monolithic solution-like view of each network function, with its own allocated resources, in a simple-to-manage manner, even with the service instance running on top of distributed software and hardware.
As if building networks like cloud (disaggregated, distributed, multiservice and automated) is not enough, it is only the starting point. We continue to expand on our vision, our goals, and our dreams, to address the ever-evolving needs of high-scale networks. Just wait for next year’s Leading Lights award… ????
Introducing Network Cloud: Transforming Service Provider Networks