VideosJanuary 11, 2022

The Network that Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Time to Build Networks Like Cloud – disaggregated, software-based shared infrastructure.

For the past 20 years, traditional vendors have maintained a business model around convincing customers to buy increasingly expensive hardware. Built like cloud hyperscalers, DriveNets Network Cloud is based on cloud-native software, running over standard networking white boxes, able to support any size network, from core to edge. So, the network that got you here won’t get you there, it’s time to build networks like cloud.

Build it like cloud​

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Today’s networks are based on proprietary hardware-centric router infrastructure. Due to the monolithic design of the router, these networks are service-oriented, meaning that even in networks that are colocated, each service (whether a mobile backhaul, internet edge, business service or core network) runs on its own batch of dedicated chassis-based routers. Since these dedicated resources cannot be shared as a pool of network resources, it results in an inefficient and costly physical infrastructure. Networks are designed for peak usage, leaving them severely underutilized most of the time.

DriveNets Network Cloud architecture is flexible and modular, enabling a variety of deployment models.  DriveNets Network Cloud takes the big router and breaks it down into white box building blocks, running cloud-based software on top of it. It disaggregates the control and data planes, allowing each to scale independently. The control-plane runs on x86 servers and the data plane is implemented with a cluster of white boxes. The data plane is built from just two building blocks: Network Cloud Packet Forwarder (NCP) and Network Cloud Fabric (NCF), and it scales from a single standalone solution of 4-12.8Tbps to a large cluster of 691.2Tbps made of dozens of white boxes operating as a single routing entity.

One white box at a time​

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In the planning phase or in the event of failure, traditional monolithic routers can create many limitations due to their size and in-flexible architecture. Traditional monolithic routers require costly and time-consuming processes of scaling, maintenance, and planning. The result is usually forklifts and the installation of a brand-new chassis model, replacing the entire system.

DriveNets Network Cloud solution offers a single disaggregated networking solution for building core, edge, peering, and access network, as well as an open, scalable, simple, and cost-effective approach.  Drivenets Network Cloud is different, it is based on a small form factor, only 2 rack units high, standard white boxes (NCP and NCF), which are deployable across all network domains, and can scale one box at a time up to a cluster size of 691Tbps. service and maintenance are simple as well, it’s possible to replace any white box (NCP and NCF) on-the-spot without replacing the whole chassis.

Any service, any port​

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The most fundamental concept behind virtualization and the cloud is the concept of a pool of resources, one capable of supporting may different applications from many sources.  That’s not the way we do networking today. IP networking today is based on  “routers combined to build a network”.  There are many different models of routers, many different configurations. Some services require special software versions for the router operating system.

Running multiple network functions over the same shared virtualized network infrastructure, DriveNets Network Cloud redefined the network infrastructure, by separating the control plane – implemented as a cloud-native application – from the data plane – running on network-specific, low cost white boxes – to deliver the following:

  • Network agility – cloud-native software built with containerized microservices, enabling the support of any services, on any port, at any scale over a shared virtualized infrastructure of white boxes. This model supports both network services and enables external third-party services.
  • Flexible scale – the physical shared infrastructure of our Network Cloud model, can easily grow from 4 Tbps to hundreds of Tbps with a telco-grade quality, by simply adding more white boxes.

Increase resource utilization

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The old rule of a “single service router” typifies much of today’s network architecture. This means that each service, whether a mobile backhaul, provider edge, business service, internet peering or core network, is tightly coupled with its own batch of dedicated chassis-based routers, for connectivity.  The classic chassis, which was, and still is, the basis for most networking functions is built in a manner that drives inherently inefficient resource utilization, and therefore a sub-optimal CapEx and OpEx structure. There are wasted resources in almost any monolithic router deployed in any specific network scenario. Those resources are a major part of the router cost-structure, so the outcome of that, is that operators pay for hardware resources they do not use, regardless of network growth trajectory.

DriveNets Network Cloud solution addresses this inefficiency and offers operators a way to significantly increase their resource utilization while gaining service & architecture flexibility, optimal scaling and software-paced innovation and time to market.  DriveNets Network Cloud is built – in a disaggregated, cloud native architecture. This means the hardware resources of a cluster of multiple white boxes are abstracted by the DriveNets Networking Operating System (DNOS) to a level in which it is consumed as a virtualized resource pool. Each networking function, which runs a containerized Service Instance (SI), can be allocated with its required hardware resource (Physical interfaces, NPU, CPU, TCAM, QoS etc.) out of the underlaying shared hardware infrastructure.

Avoid vendor lock

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The traditional model of single-service network boxes encourages vendor lock, locking service providers into using the same vendor software and hardware. Purchasing network equipment software and hardware from the same vendor can weaken the negotiating position of a service provider’s procurement team, eliminating the possibility to mix and match vendors, driving up costs and leading to reduced opportunities for cost savings and cost avoidance. Service providers pay a substantial premium (ranging up to 300%) for closed branded network devices.  The closed single-vendor model slows down innovation since traditional vendors may be slower in introducing new and disruptive technologies than newer challengers looking to penetrate the market.

Instead of continuing down the single-vendor “black-box” path, service providers should consider purchasing best-of-breed networking hardware and software, sold independently, from a number of different vendors. Just using two types of basic commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) building blocks that are available from multiple vendors, DriveNets Network Cloud frees service providers from vendor lock-in, allowing them to rapidly leverage new technologies, swap components and platforms, and switch vendors. This mitigates exposure to supply chain disruptions, enabling the adoption of emerging technologies that may be incompatible with an incumbent vendors’ proprietary technologies. DriveNets Network Cloud allows hardware to be mixed & matched in a cluster, where hardware and software sold independently from different/multiple vendors ,offering full flexibility, growth, and investment protection.

A new way of building networks

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Networks are changing, because what we want from them is changing. In the past, they were all about connections, and most saw the IP core as the heart of the network. Today, it’s all about rich services, and that includes feature hosting, edge computing, and personalization of services can’t be done deep in the core where too many users are served. Network operators need to manage costs to sustain acceptable return on infrastructure, but they also need to raise top-line revenues from new services.

The models for function hosting have been tied too closely to the monolithic-boxes model of networking’s past. They need to be tied to the cloud; the thing that’s networking’s future. DriveNets, whose disaggregated Network Cloud model of routing, already breaks the monolithic-box barrier, is offering a true cloud-compatible pathway to network functions

There is a new way of building networks for communication service providers, hyperscalers and other network operators. The DriveNets Network Cloud architecture is essential in any modern network as is it the only one that can integrate compute and networking resources while addressing service providers’ cost, scaling and innovation challenges.

DriveNets’ disaggregated model is truly a “network cloud”, with an understanding of the intricate and complex process of creating unity of function from a distributed implementation, while extending the Network Cloud to support other applications directly, and exposing security/stability-managed APIs to accelerate those applications to the Network Cloud.

DriveNets Network Cloud allows communications service providers (CSPs) and cloud providers to evolve their infrastructure and enable the implementation of an efficient edge cloud architecture that also supports latency sensitive applications. Moreover, Network Cloud delivers performance improvements and significantly reduces total cost of ownership (TCO) by using telco assets in an optimal way