A Canadian company based its software-defined networking (SDN) technology on the IETF‘s Forwarding and Control Element Separation (ForCES) architecture. And Verizon was impressed enough with the software to recently choose it for deployment in its live networks.
Mojatatu Networks, based in Ottawa, was founded by Jamal Hadi Salim in 2009. Salim had been the chair of the IETF working group that created the ForCES standard. He used his expertise from that work to establish Mojatatu.
“He wanted to use ForCES as the foundation for a networking operating system,” says Dale Geldart, Mojatatu’s VP of sales and marketing. “Today, MojaNet is a complete networking OS on top of the ForCES specification.”
The working group designed ForCES from the beginning to be a highly scalable implementation that could be deployed in the largest networks where thousands of switches are pushing millions of transactions. This is in contrast to OpenFlow, which has been criticized for its scaling limitations. (Nick McKeown, who was one of the brain trusts behind OpenFlow talks about its evolution here.)
ForCES creates logical functional blocks (LFBs) to shape the movements of packets and account for those packets. Potentially, it can support use cases that monitor and manage services in real time.
“You could have use cases where, as a service provider, you want to provide a unique function such as not counting a movie against a data plan,” says Geldart.
Mojatatu and ForCES
Returning to the ForCES/OpenFlow comparison, Geldart says the two are not apples-to-apples. “ForCES is a different beast than OpenFlow,” he says. “Both separate control and forwarding. OpenFlow got a great deal of attention and visibility to have a programmable network that would allow you to use Linux switches and program them in unique manners.”
But Mojatatu decided to build its SDN product, MojaNet, on the ForCES architecture. And now it’s creating new ForCES-based technologies. It’s developed MojaStat — a telemetry gathering technology — that’s able to do statistics by developing new LFBs that capture information. And the company is also working on container security.
Mojatatu has not looked to venture capital for any funding but is growing organically through revenue. Geldart says the company is profitable. It has 12 employees, and he is the only one who’s not working on software development.