Cumulus Makes Open Networking OS Available on Facebook’s Voyager

SANTA CLARA, California — Cumulus Networks is working to make its open networking Linux operating system available on Voyager, a Facebook-designed, packet-optical transponder platform.

Facebook first announced Voyager, which it described as a “white box transponder and routing solution,” at last year’s Telecom Infra Project (TIP) summit.

Facebook contributed Voyager to TIP to address operator needs for scalable, cost-effective backhaul infrastructure that supports bandwidth-intensive applications like video, virtual reality, scientific research, and machine learning. Its use cases include metro and long-haul fiber optic transport networks.

“This is really different than what operators have had,” said Jay Parikh, VP of engineering and infrastructure for Facebook, during a keynote today at the TIP summit in Santa Clara, California. “One: it’s open. You can configure this however you want in terms of hardware and software. Two: it dramatically lowers cost.”

“Major telcos,” including Telia Carrier in Europe, are “doing [Voyager] trials and planning deployments in production infrastructure,” Parikh said at Mobile World Congress in February.

Combining Cumulus Linux and Voyager will extend the benefits of open networking technology — such as webscale efficiencies, automation, commodity hardware, and lower costs — to optical networks, said Cumulus CEO Josh Leslie. “It’s continuing this trend toward disaggregation, standardization in the data center, with Facebook taking a leading role,” he said. “This is something where customers win.”

Voyager with Cumulus Linux is slated for production-use availability in early 2018 through partner ADVA Optical Networking.

The move also marks Cumulus’ expansion beyond the data center networking market and into the data center interconnect (DCI) market.

More than 800 customers, including more than a third of the Fortune 50, use Cumulus technology to enable web-scale networking in their data centers, Leslie said.

“Data center interconnect is a real natural place for us because it’s the same buyer with the same workload,” he said. “So having a common operational model and a common user experience that is an artifact of having a common software layer seemed very logical to us.”

Edgecore Contributes White Box to TIP

Also during his keynote, Parikh said Edgecore Networks is contributing its hardware design for its Cassini packet transponder to TIP. “It’s really cool to see a different hardware solution being contributed to the TIP community,” he said.

The modular, open-source white box packet transponder includes 100 gigabit Ethernet (GbE) packet switching ports and 100/200 Gb/s coherent optical interfaces for data center interconnect and service provider backhaul use cases. It will support disaggregated software options including IP Infusion OcNOS and open source alternatives.

Photo: Jay Parikh, VP of engineering and infrastructure for Facebook, delivers a keynote at the TIP summit.