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PodcastsAugust 4, 2020

Talking Disaggregation with Ray Mota

There’s a lot of talk about disaggregation, but what is DriveNets’ approach to this type of architecture? “We’re a disruptive technology, but we do not disrupt the network,” Amir Krayden, Vice-President R&D of Customers at DriveNets, recently related to host and technology expert, Ray Mota, on The Deep Edge Podcast.

Ray Mota (Deep Edge Podcast):
In this podcast, joining us will be Amir Krayden, who’s Vice-President R&D of Customers for DriveNets. So Amir, what’s your role at DriveNets?

DriveNets : I joined DriveNets four years ago in August of 2016, after a very long period in the Israeli Army Technological Unit. I came to open the architecture team, led the architecture team and then the VP R&D of the Customer’s group.

Ray Mota (Deep Edge Podcast):
I think one of the things I wanted to talk about for this because there was some announcements, but I think initially I want to just start off by talking about there’s a lot of talk about disaggregation, right? What is DriveNets’ approach to this type of architecture, and how do you do it different?

DriveNets : So, I think when it comes to disaggregation, there could be other vendors that say that they disaggregated the router, but essentially what they’re disaggregating is mainly the pricing model, so you kind of separate the pricing model of software and the pricing the model of hardware. DriveNets is doing things, I think, very much different, because it’s coming in layers: we’ve disaggregated the routers. We’re not speaking only of an open model for networking, the fact that we’re cloud native, the fact that unlike people that came before us that they were a disaggregated core to very much extended disaggregated. But the way that we looked at it, coming in completely cloud native, allowed us to come and disaggregate in not only a single box, but essentially almost disaggregated something that ties linearly between one box and 192 terabit per second router. So, I think in that essence, we didn’t only disaggregate the router, we also distributed the router, which is a very important part of what DriveNets is doing.

Ray Mota (Deep Edge Podcast):
Now, one of the things that I always get asked a lot is when it’s a new vendor being introduced into an existing brownfield network, is when a service provider selects, let’s say DriveNets, is how disruptive is the transition to this new architecture, what do you do to help the CSP in that process?

DriveNets : So, here it is kind of interesting that we use the word “disruptive” in two meanings, one time as a disruptive technology, one time is disruptive tool—

There is a– what’s really the operational model. I think that’s one of the things that we understand very early, that (1) we need to come with an ecosystem, you don’t just shove your software. They won’t put it into the network. You need to come with a much larger approach which states: “I bring the software; someone brings the hardware and there are services coming into play” and I think we bring all of that. And in that case, not only that I think when the software comes in, the distraction to their OPS is not really that big, because we give them the holistic view of something which looks like a single network entity. For them, yes, they take white boxes, they tie them in together but once the software is deployed and we take care of deployment, we take care for firmware upgrade, we take care of everything. But once it’s deployed, from the network point of view, you look at the single network entity. There OSS, BSF system does not know that now they’re speaking with something which is disaggregated, it’s our kind of trick to give this facade of you’re looking at the single router, even though the internal behavior of it is based on disaggregated boxes.

Another play on words here, won’t be only disrupting the network but also disaggregation, because what you don’t want to have here is disaggregation of responsibility. Of someone coming in and saying: “I used to get hardware and software from the same exact vendor; therefore, I got my support from the same exact vendor”. So, you have to come here, even if you’re going disaggregated with a model that still gives the service provider all the suite that he needs to work in.

Ray Mota (Deep Edge Podcast):
Now, one of the things is that’s interesting about your company is, I’ve seen some recent announcements about AT&T, but you have others, right? And the question is more related to, because these are some serious service providers, right? Is, what have been the buying criteria that they’ve used to make a decision?

Drivenets : Excellent question. I think one, the service provider that adopts us, they have very much a holistic view of how they see their network and what is disaggregation in the network with and without regards to DriveNets. I think AT&T is a– is a good example. Then, when we come in, the fact that we were able to prove that we know what we’re speaking about, we understand big routers, we understand scale, it helped them decide that one we could simplify scaling. Two, for them introducing someone like DriveNets is even disruptive within the service provider itself; they want the technology refresh. This technology refresh could come, not only from internal things that take place, but to put in someone like us which is very software-centric and around the– around that you build a more software-centric approach. Lowering the cost, of course it’s– it’s– it’s a part of the game. Substantially uh– it’s substantially a more beneficial model but by itself, it’s not enough. Someone could ask: “what is the– the purchase cost of a router?” And then compare us to someone else, so it has to come without being able to do all the things that you said earlier: we’re disruptive technology but we do not disrupt the network. We could really feed their uh– feed their inside. And I think another important thing is we’re a pure software company, we’re not there to sell more white boxes. I’m not gaining more money by selling more– by selling more white boxes. So, I think, for them, it really gives them the– it really gives them the benefit that we come in, we want to sell our software, we have– it’s not always a function of how many routers are playing this game, so I think, taking all of this is important for them. And also, room for innovation: growing more services, growing multiple services on top of our technology, I think these are the– the main– main buying criteria.

Ray Mota (Deep Edge Podcast):
Now since you mentioned uh—AT&T, right? And you touched a little bit, but I want to go a little deeper is where if we look at the present mode of operation uh– of how they were doing things today, right? I don’t know if you’re at liberty to talk, about future mode of operation and what the potential outcomes they look to gain from some of your deployments with this?

Drivenets : So, even though I cannot speak directly on AT&T.

I do– it’s been answered earlier they really have a real holistic view of what they want to do, how they want to virtualize their network and I think, we fit in very, very, well with that approach, we fit in very well with the way they want to be software-centric, the way they want to deploy services much– much faster. Now, going to FMO and PMO, I think one of the things here, it’s very, very service provider dependent; meaning that we have use cases today which are core, in core, you can go as you said, you can go brownfield and extend go over the top of an existing core network, you can go side by side and have a new– when network but, eventually we interrupt, so if it’s on core network we will interrupt with the phase, we will interrupt with the aggregation router, if I’m going to function a P as a B, which is something that we’re doing, we’re interrupting with core devices by other vendors, so I think we give them– we give them all these possibilities but all in all, what where we fit best is for someone that says: “I don’t want my network to reflect the router anymore, I want the router to reflect the network” and if they have this kind of state of mind, then we fit in very, very well.