Coriant launched a white box platform with capabilities targeted at the network operator space and admittedly outside what the typical data center provider would need.
The Vibe X90 Programmable Packet Platform uses packet disaggregation and open software control to handle transport IP routing. It can also tap into Coriant’s Network Operating System (NOS) to further maximize performance and reduce operating costs.
Rob Shore, senior vice president of global sales enablement at Coriant, explained that telecom operators need to manage significantly more data traffic and routes than data center providers.
“Routes that need to be managed by a telecom operator are sometimes around 10 million rather than just 30,000 routes for a data center,” Shore said, adding that those network operator demands are only going to increase with the deployment of 5G and edge computing.
“Operators have this big transition looming with 5G,” Shore said. “It will create an order of magnitude increase in bandwidth at the edge of the network. They need to do something radically more cost effective for their router plans.”
The Coriant platform includes both hardware and software components.
The hardware follows typical white box architecture in using an Intel processor and Broadcom switching chip. It supports 900 Gb/s full-duplex switching capacity in single node configurations and can also scale up to 2.7 Tb/s in stacked configurations.
Shore said it builds on the company’s smart router series of devices to support network operators looking to bolster their 5G efforts.
“It might be overkill for data centers, but is needed for a network environment,” Shore boasted.
That physical platform can support any open source operating system. However, Shore noted that the company’s NOS system would likely be able to get the most out of the hardware compared with other operating systems.
“Some other OS might not be able to take advantage of all those hardware components,” Shore said. “It might, but we know for sure that our NOS can.”
Shore cited AT&T’s recent announcement that it plans to install more than 60,000 open source, software-powered white boxes across its network over the next several years in support of its aggressive 5G plans. While it has not named vendor partners, the carrier stated those white box routers are part of a “radical realignment” of its network architecture and key to supporting 5G services.
Those white boxes will use the DANOS operating system to separate a router’s operating system software from its underlying hardware. It will also provide standard interfaces and APIs for a framework within the base operating system, control and management plane, and data planes; and standard interfaces/APIs that provide a clean separation of control plane from data plane.
“AT&T is definitely showing where operators want to go in terms of using white box architectures to handle their 5G plans,” Shore said. “We are fully in support of those efforts.”
He added that Coriant plans to begin hardware trials during the third quarter, with a “double-digit number of trials already requested.”
Coriant was formed in 2013, having been born out of Nokia Siemens Networks’ optical networking division under the ownership of Marlin Equity Partners. Coriant was then merged with Tellabs and Sycamore, both of which were also owned by Marlin.
Coriant last month abruptly changed leadership when former CEO and Chairman Shaygan Kheradpir stepped down from his role to pursue other opportunities. Kheradpir was replaced by Pat DiPietro who had previously served as vice chairman of the company’s board.
Kheradpir had previously briefly served as CEO of Juniper before being dismissed for “his conduct in connection with a particular negotiation with a customer.” His LinkedIn page still shows him as CEO at Coriant.