The German company Stordis distributes telecom equipment in Europe. But Stordis is in the process of repositioning itself as the champion of open source networking hardware and software for European service providers. And it’s working closely with Barefoot Networks as part of its strategy.
It plans to provide hardware from bare metal suppliers such as Edgecore and Delta. It will offer consultancy and support services to help European service providers adopt open source networking software. And the company is in the process of ramping the manufacturing of a 100 Gig switch that is based on Barefoot’s Tofino programmable chip.
Stordis has “quite a close relationship to Barefoot because we are doing all the P4 training in Europe,” said the company’s Director of Marketing Johannes Kuhnle. Stordis does P4 training via Barefoot Academy. In fact, it’s hosting a training at Barefoot Academy next week in Amsterdam. And engineers from some European telecoms will be attending, among others.*
Stordis recently supported a P4 trial conducted by Barefoot and FOX Networks, demonstrating programmable forwarding plane technology within a broadcast network. Stordis supplied the switch for that demonstration.
The company plans to unveil its new website soon, which will highlight its open source networking offerings. Besides Barefoot, some of its partners include Noviflow and Pica8. And with its background as a distributor, Stordis also has relationships with many hardware manufacturers.
Its vision is to replace the hardware, software, and services that operators have traditionally gotten from telecom vendors such as Cisco and Dell EMC. “This is the same as you get from traditional network vendors but with all the benefits of open networking,” said Kuhnle. “You will have one source to talk to.”
One of Stordis’ initial target markets is broadcasters in Europe because it already enjoys a strong relationship with that industry. Hence, the involvement in the recent trial between FOX Networks and Barefoot.
Its history serving broadcast networks is also what caused the company to develop its own switch. Manufacturing is a new endeavor for Stordis. “We figured out there is a need for the Stordis switch,” said Kuhnle. “We are trying to offer our own switch aimed for the broadcasting market. It’s quite unique because the Tofino chip offers quite a lot of possibilities to the broadcasting industry. We’re seeing our chance here with a Stordis-labeled product.”
Kuhnle said the Stordis 100 Gig switch is slated for general availability by the end of this year.
Although the company will tap its relationships in broadcasting, it doesn’t plan to limit itself to that industry. “That is our entry market, but we are not only focused on this,” said Kuhnle. “Deutsche Telekom — they are trying open networking.”
He added that European operators have been slower to adopt open source networking, taking a wait-and-see approach. He said customers have always said the same thing about open source: “We are not understanding it. Who is going to give us the support?”
But Stordis’ strategy of targeting broadcasters first will hopefully lead to a willingness for other service providers to try open source. And the company is involved with the Open Networking Foundation (ONF).
Finally, the company hosts two innovation labs: one in Stuttgart, Germany, and one near London. The labs “will have all the hardware, bare metal switches from Delta and EdgeCore, with some Facebook hardware,” said Kuhnle. “We are testing Cumulus, Noviflow, and Pica8 to figure out what works with each other. These labs are the best-equipped labs for open networking in Europe.”
*After publication, Kuhnle said he mis-spoke in naming a telco that was participating in this training. His information was incorrect.