October 28, 2021

Networking Nightmares!

Ghoulish Growth and Creepy Costs

Halloween is not only a dark and stormy night that lies ahead of us, but also a time for us to look at the challenges facing today’s networks. So bundle up, while your body may shudder, despite the heat coming out of the network…

The nightmares below do not take place just on Halloween, making this the perfect time to shine a light and expose the evils lurking in today’s networks.

Networking Nightmares!

The Terror Tale of Monolithic Infrastructure

The monolithic chassis was designed to accommodate various networking scenarios, but in reality they are implemented for one specific networking scenario. The set of resources is built as a superset to accommodate any scenario and is fixed, for any given platform. When using the platform in a specific network scenario, the inherent inefficiency of the monolithic architecture means that the chassis goes under-utilized. This is because most networking functions require a different set of resources, which is usually a mixture of one or two intensely used resources and other, lesser used resources.

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A Radical Network Change to Cloud

Scary Scalability and Chilling Costs

The limitations of monolithic infrastructure goes further than just inefficiency. Monolithic networks are not properly scalable. While traditional networking equipment vendors have made many improvements over the years to boost network capacity and scale, they never changed the basic underlining architecture, continuing to roll out larger chassis and new line cards that support the latest network interfaces.

However, this approach has limitations. The backplane of the old chassis can only support a few of the new modules – not a full rack. And once the chassis, small or large, fills up, it requires a costly rip-and-replace to scale.  Other limitations involve power consumption, operational complexities and growing deployment costs.

With today’s need for overcoming the ever-growing surge in capacity demand, this is an expensive and scary process.

Trapped in an Endless Vendor Lock-in Nightmare

Service provider infrastructures are still driven by monolithic IP routers from just a handful of vendors, selling and supporting proprietary, closed systems.  In most cases, they are defined in an isolated way, addressing specific issues or technological fixes, adding higher complexity to the physical network structure. Different vendors with proprietary protocols and specific configurations result in complex situations with terrifying network restraints.

With these monolithic appliances bundled with proprietary software into a vendor-locked device and integrated only with other offerings from that vendor, vendor lock-in is endless and inescapable.

Frighteningly Fast Capacity Demand

While demand continues to skyrocket, the network architecture deployed by service providers has barely changed in the past two decades, squeezing their service margins.

Service providers experienced as much as a 60% increase in Internet traffic, struggling to maintain pace with these network traffic demands. Powered by nearly unprecedented work-at-home bandwidth consumption, and a huge volume of OTT (Over-the-Top) streaming media and other business services, demand only stands to increase – especially with the move to 4K/8K, linear OTT TV, IP-into-broadcast substitution, and the transition to 5G. The need to meet this fast demand for capacity is truly frightening.

The Incredible Shrinking of Profitability

Declining revenues and lower margins have put network service providers profitability at risk. At the same time, demand for capital expenditure increased with the need to invest in both existing infrastructure to meet the rapid growth in data traffic, and also to find new areas for growth and innovation.  The pressure to substantially grow network scale, while controlling its cost, has brought new horrors to keeping networks profitable.

The End of the Halloween Networking Nightmare: The Distributed Disaggregated Network Model!

DriveNets was established to address these scary problems and align network scale with service provider profitability, in the same way that hyperscalers solved compute and storage scaling in the cloud. Our solution, Network Cloud, changes the operational and economic model of the network, allowing it to scale capacity and services much faster while increasing service provider profitability. We do it with a cloud-native networking software, standard networking white boxes and new operational and commercial models.

DriveNets Network Cloud is based on a distributed disaggregated router architecture that can reach extreme capacity by scaling linearly from a single white box router of 4 Tb/s to a cluster of hundreds of white boxes (up to 691 Tb/s) – acting as a single router entity. This scalability of a single router entity over any number of white boxes allows it to support any location in the network – Core, Edge, and Access with a single software, based on only two white box building blocks. This model allows the mix-and-match of the hardware to bring prices down as you scale-out.

This disaggregated router approach, using one software over just two types of white boxes, lowers both power consumption and the operational cost of scaling the network.  It makes the traditional router chassis look like just a bad dream from the past.

White Paper

Heavy Reading: A Radical Network Change to Cloud