The DriveNets Cure for Telco Traffic Growth Pains

Virtualization, disaggregation and the Telco Edge are very hot topics in the Telecom sector and Ray Le Maistre (TelecomTV) talks about these trends with Ido Susan,the founder and CEO at DriveNets.

 

Ray Le Maistre (TelecomTV):
Let’s start with the big picture. What is DriveNets strategy? It’s vision, it’s solution and why disaggregate the router?

Drivenets : The main challenge that today most of the networkers still design and build, on top of the hardware-based solution and in order to support the demand of the traffic, they require every day to go and to roll out more and more equipment and capacity to the field; that creates a network more complex and more difficult to maintain.

DriveNets vision is basically to solve this problem in the same way that VMware and other players like public cloud did it in the past for compute and storage industry, by converting the solution from hardware based to software based. This is what DriveNets is doing. Basically, we are converting the network, the highest scale network industry, from hardware centric to software centric by disaggregating the data path function from control and management orchestration. We convert the data path or the platform to be white boxes – open and unified as a shared resource and the software will be running on top as a multi-service that shares the same resource.

 

Ray Le Maistre (TelecomTV):
So, what would you say is the real differentiation of DriveNets as opposed to the other solutions out there in the market?

Drivenets : First, our product is available! It’s a real product– up and running. It’s a carrier grade and you are able to go and buy it and use it. Second, I think, the amazing momentum and partnership that we are getting from the industry – whether it’s chipset companies, the ODM that manufactures the hardware, the VAR, the local distribution that’s selling the hardware and doing the rack and stacks, the optics companies and of course, we’re bringing the angle of the software. I think this ecosystem is very strong and this is what helped us to address the entire market needs. Because at the end of the day, when you are selling a software-based solution to the Telco or to the cloud provider, you need to think of a solution including, of course, all the capabilities of the networking and the operational tools and the support 24×7, but also, you need the people on the ground that will be able to support you if you require an RMA and other activities. So, I think the ecosystem it’s very strong, it’s getting more and more momentum and even the incumbents are taking part, starting to be more and more involved, because they know that industries change, like the compute and storage industry; if they will not take the step, they will be like IBM in the past that was selling most of the servers in the world and now they are out of that business.

 

Ray Le Maistre (TelecomTV):
There’s a lot of talk, a lot of headlines at the moment about the Telco Edge, but in your view, what exactly is the Telco Edge and what are the opportunities there?

Drivenets : We also saw the last announcement from the big players such as Microsoft, Google, AT&T, Verizon, etc. I believe that it’s a transition that’s going to and already taking place in this industry. It’s a win-win for the cloud provider, it’s a huge opportunity to expand revenue by offering more workload for Telco and to build the next generation of the cloud provider for low latency applications; the third party will be able to develop on top of this infrastructure. From the other end, it’s a win for the Telco, that they will be able now to consume the cloud and networking services, as a software technology from the cloud provider. So, I think it’s a win-win and I believe that this is the beginning of and the same happened with IT 10 years ago. Now, starting with the service provider in about 10 years from now, what we will see? That the whole industry, all the Telcos will have the edge compute as part of their network and part of the technology that will consume the service from the cloud provider and part of the technology, they will continue to run an on-prem solution. I will call it like what we are familiar with, hybrid mode from the cloud providers.

 

Ray Le Maistre (TelecomTV):
Okay, but for a network operator, why would they turn to DriveNets for their Telco Edge rather than say, a Cisco or Juniper or Nokia?

Drivenets : From us it’s native to run like another workload on the edge compute, because we design and build our technology to be a software-based solution, while for the incumbent to go and convert their solution to be as a native cloud, it’s almost to start from scratch and part of the momentum, the good momentum that the company has today it’s the combination, the partnership with those cloud provider and from technology perspective, I think that we are the best architecture to support the opportunity to run more workload on top of the edge compute.

 

Ray Le Maistre (TelecomTV):
So, you’re clearly seeing an opportunity at the Telco Edge but, what other kinds of application scenarios or solutions is DriveNets supporting?

Drivenets : So, we started our journey with the most challenging network space because we like challenges. We design and build our first network use case for the P-function, for core and aggregation; the routers that require thousands of port density of 100 gig and 400 gig. Later on, we add more, we added more network function for PE like, peering and internet traffic and also metro. In the future, as part of our road map we are working to add more capability to the access, but in the end of the day, the network is going to fit to any need or any network use case from Telco or cloud providers.

 

Ray Le Maistre (TelecomTV):
So, Ido, your background is actually in radio access networks and obviously 5G is the real talk of the industry a lot of the time now, why not focus your new company, your latest company just on 5G?

Drivenets : First, we– we are working and supporting the 5G architecture and we’re providing solutions, we are working together with our customers to support the CRAN, the centralized RAN and also, the ORAN, the Open RAN with the BBO pulling architecture. I believe that in the future what we will see is that the wireline and the wireless will be consolidated, will be one network again, that the infrastructure will be an open shared resource and the software will run in a multiple software functions that are sharing the same infrastructure. Yes, I am coming from the RAN space, but I’m back in networking and I believe that in the future, those two worlds will be combined to a one world.

 

Ray Le Maistre (TelecomTV):
Okay. So, I mean, we’re still really at the– the early stages of 5G. There’s a lot of innovation to come ahead of us. How do you see the market evolving over the next five years?

Drivenets : Today we are working with most of the biggest tier 1 service providers in the US, Japan, Europe and, also the cloud providers. So, we are getting very good momentum and more and more customers are trying and developing and testing our technology Some of them already in commercial and I believe that in the next five years we will see the same trend that happened with VMware or with the cloud provider in the compute and storage industry. We will see here in the network that the customer will buy commodity hardware, on the shelf, open and just select the best software solution to run the network function with the best, most cost effective and I think this will be the best practice to any network that wants to scale to operate with the best cost per bit.

 

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