Lucera Financial Infrastructures had been running Arista on its switch backplanes, along with some switches from Gnodal, a startup whose assets were bought out of receivership by Cray last year. Now, the firm is competing a migration to Pluribus.
“Pluribus is our switch backplane in New York and Chicago, and it’s currently being upgraded in the London facility. By the end of the year, we’ll be all-Pluribus,” says Jacob Loveless, Lucera’s CEO.
“It wasn’t like they gave us the whole data center in one shot. They gave us a corner, and guess who else was there: It was Arista,” says Pluribus CTO Sunay Tripathi. “Slowly they started disinvesting in other vendors and investing in Pluribus. This has been happening over the past 15 months.”
Arista will still have some equipment in those data centers, no doubt, but they’ll no longer play a starring role. Arista declined to comment.
Pluribus combines computing and switching into what it calls server-switches or network computing appliances. The key is that the switch chip isn’t just next to the CPU; they operate together, opening the potential for doing application-aware networking out of a server.
Lucera liked that compute/switching convergence, Loveless says. It meshes with Lucera’s own ideas about how to run the data center, and it’s a space-saver. “You really want to use every single rack unit for what you can,” Loveless says.
Lucera also intends to take advantage of Pluribus’ network monitoring capabilities. The ability to capture every packet on the switch is a big help in diagnosing latency problems, Loveless says.
But a driving factor was raw speed. “OpenFlow and so on — those are great, but those are based on switching problems,” Loveless says. “They do a lot more of the networking than we need. And they are really, really, really, really slow. We’re in a microsecond world.”
Pluribus isn’t disclosing the size of the overall Lucera win, but the final push that was signed just before Thanksgiving, was roughly a million-dollar deal, officials say. One source in the venture capital community believes Pluribus is on track for revenues of $10 million this year.
More important to Pluribus is that its architecture now has a proof point in the financial sector. “This is a blueprint for Wall Street. This is getting us into a lot of other Wall Street deployments,” Tripathi says.
Lucera is a particularly picky customer, as its job is to connect the networks of high-frequency trading firms. Born out of investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald, the company runs its own variant of SmartOS, the open source hypervisor and operating system from Joyent, and overclocks the chips in its servers to get better performance.
Pluribus is not being used at the edge of Lucera’s network. Those spaces are reserved for switches Lucera designed itself.
Lucera’s SDN switches have 44 10-Gb/s fibers that each go to different customer cages. “We don’t interact with one network or 10 networks; we integrate with literally hundreds of networks,” Loveless says. That means adapting to whatever IP addressing scheme each bank uses, and being able to run a logical flow from one bank to another, “so Bank A can trade with Bank B,” Loveless says.
Photo by Lars Plougmann, Creative Commons license. Photo has been cropped.