Equinix and Facebook announce Open Source optical initiative

Equinix and Facebook announce Open Source optical initiative

Equinix is working with Facebook and the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) to deploy and test new packet-optical switches known as Voyager.

The new Facebook-designed packet-optical switches, known as Voyager, will be tested inside two of Equinix's International Business Exchange (IBX) data centres

Voyager is the first joint step in Facebook and Equinix’s journey of developing the next-generation network ecosystem for hardware and software and eventually, complete virtualisation.

The initial steps in developing these new technologies and kick-starting the progress towards rethinking approaches to deploying network architecture were made to support the emerging 5G networks, IoT, and virtual reality use cases.

The scale, and cost requirements of these new use cases cannot be satisfied by traditional hardware-centric network architectures. By working as part of TIP, Equinix is defining the deployment, operational and support models for new disaggregated and virtual networking infrastructures.

Since joining TIP, Equinix’s CTO, Ihab Tarazi, has taken an active role in the group, co-chairing the Open Optical Packet Transport project group and also participating in the Backhaul track.

The Initial testing of the Voyager open packet-optical switch took place in Equinix’s SV3 and SV8 IBX data centers in Silicon Valley. Voyager is a combination of compute, switch, router and DWDM transport technologies. Preliminary results showed zero packet loss and significant overall cost savings due to this disaggregated hardware and software networking model.

Ihab Tarazi, CTO, Equinix, speaking at the launch of the initiative at Facebook’s Menlo Park HQ said: “This emerging world of disaggregated optical networking will need a physical aggregation point where all the hardware and software can come together.  With Equinix’s rich history in network and cloud neutrality, it makes perfect sense that Equinix be the place where CSPs, NSPs and the TIP hardware and software vendors can join together to deploy next-generation networks.  We are thrilled by the initial results of our tests and look forward to future collaboration and innovation with this exciting initiative.”

Hans-Juergen Schmidtke, Director of Engineering, Facebook said: “The Open Optical Packet Transport project group within TIP is developing technologies in an open community approach with the goal to drive better and broader connectivity globally. With Equinix’s leadership and support, the Voyager ecosystem will serve as a first ever white box for switching, routing and DWDM in the Wide Area Networks to exemplify a new way of open collaboration and innovation within the TIP community.”

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