Pluribus claims industry’s first central office edge compute switch

Open networking and controllerless SDN automation tech provider aims to respond to the extensive and exacting needs of distributed cloud environments

In a move designed to bring open networking to the telco central office, Pluribus Networks has expanded its distributed cloud portfolio, enabling telecom service providers to expand datacentre infrastructures to the central office.

With its new Netviso ONE operating system (OS) release 5.1, the open networking and controllerless software-defined networking (SDN) automation firm is claiming a number of industry firsts, namely being the first open networking software to support the Celestica Edgestone carrier grade white box central office switch and the first to integrate the datacentre gateway router function into the top of rack switch.

The latter is said to enable firms to reduce cost, power and space in constrained edge environments. Netvisor ONE and the Adaptive Cloud Fabric Release 5.1 also include improved deep network slicing, integration with Red Hat OpenStack Platform and expanded Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform capabilities.

The underlying principle behind Pluribus Netvisor ONE OS and the Adaptive Cloud Fabric (ACF) architectural approach is that it’s controllerless, where all software modules are containerised, distributed and designed to leverage the processing power and memory resources built into the open networking datacentre switches themselves. This compares with the situation with traditional solutions that may require many external servers, controller software licenses, central processing unit software licenses and hardware-based probes, taps, and packet brokers that typically need to be replicated site by site.

The Pluribus Adaptive Cloud Fabric is also designed to eliminate the need for the vast majority of external hardware and software required by these traditional approaches, so that complexity is reduced and cost optimised for constrained edge environments.

The Pluribus Netvisor ONE OS and Adaptive Cloud Fabric release 5.1 also now support two new Celestica carrier-class white box switch models, which is said to enable choice and flexibility for customers as they design their centralised, regional and distributed datacentre and cloud networks.

The solution is claimed to offer the industry’s first central office top of rack switch, boasting an Intel Broadwell 12 core CPU, Broadcom Trident 3 packet processing chipset, all front panel access and dual management ports in a 350mm form factor, specifically designed for central office edge deployments.

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With release 5.1 of its OS, Pluribus has also integrated containerised virtual gateway vRouter functionality directly into the Pluribus Netvisor ONE running on the top-of-rack switch. This collapses a previously external router into the border leaf node, offering improvements in cost and simplicity for edge datacentre deployments.

Assessing the new technology and what impact it can have on its target environments, Brad Casemore, research vice-president of datacentre networks at analyst IDC, said: “As the cost and complexity of disaggregated networking have decreased and functionality and performance have improved, service providers have taken a keener interest in deploying the technology in their central offices and other edge environments.

“That said, distributed cloud environments, such as modernised central offices, have a specific set of requirements related to operational complexity, cost constraints, space limitations and power attributes.

“Pluribus and Celestica have collaborated closely to deliver a disaggregated software-hardware offering that responds to the extensive and exacting needs of these increasingly important distributed cloud environments,” he said.

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