Coriant launches disaggregated IP/MPLS Network Operating System

10 July 2018 | Natalie Bannerman


Coriant has launched its Network Operating System (NOS), a carrier-class, disaggregated IP/MPLS software solution for carrier, enterprise, and cloud networks.

The Coriant NOS solution is based on an open and modular software architecture that operates on industry-standard COTS white boxes as well as application-optimised white boxes.

Speaking exclusively with Capacity, Robert Shore, senior vice president of global sales enablement at Coriant, explained the concept of disaggregated routers was by liking it the mobile phone industry.

Robert Shore 200x200“If you look at what’s going on in the router space its very akin to the smartphone industry not long ago. It started off where blackberry really was the dominant smartphone and it had all of these proprietary, full integrated solutions in the hardware, the software and all the applications all from the same vendor. That was the way it was for a while until you had the iPhone and even more so the android come along and what they essentially turned this proprietary ecosystem into an open ecosystem, where there was disaggregation between the hardware, the operating system and the application. So these things suddenly became independent and you could buy them from whoever you wanted. Though it drove costs down a little bit, what it really did was introduce a whole new bunch of people to the market to innovate.”

Shore says that Coriant is doing exactly the same in the network router space, meeting the needs of network operators who as he says may only want the hardware or the software. But he it keen to add that Coriant is one of only a number of telco’s pushing for the open type network ecosystem with players like AT&T, Telefonica and Orange also championing this concept, saying that they are looking for the same benefits that enterprises like Facebook, Amazon and Google, who have already broken this proprietary hold over that part of their network.

The Coriant NOS solution offers hardware-independent flexibility and disaggregated software components including Open Network Linux operating system, hardware abstraction layer, IP stack and network protocol suite. It is built for modularity allowing customers to easily and quickly integrate and innovate with new functionality.

“By separating the NOS from the routing hardware, Coriant provides network operators the chance to break the vendor lock-in constraints of traditional IP routing solutions,” said Uwe Fischer, CTO and executive vice president of R&D and PLM at Coriant. “The Coriant NOS leverages over 20 years of IP/MPLS networking expertise and deployed Tier 1 experience, and delivers on the promise of an open, disaggregated approach to packet-based networking that accelerates innovation by maximising best-in-class functional blocks.”

Shore says that it has been a 18 month process of disentangling its software from the hardware, which he said “takes a little bit of time as it’s not a completely simple process” especially when trying to make it environmentally agnostic. Unlike other NOS offerings that are designed more so for smaller, self-contained insular style networks, Shore says Coriant has the advantage of large scale networking capabilities and IP functionality for wide scale networking.

In addition, the NOS solution includes a hardware abstraction layer that supports standalone and multi-unit forwarding architectures, as well as support for a broad set of protocols required in carrier networks and Data Centre Interconnect (DCI) applications. It uses Coriant’s IP/MPLS stack for applications that require high performance, scalability and resiliency. It has been designed with open APIs to simplify integration into existing environments and to give operators the benefits of a programmable infrastructure.

With all the openness of this new ecosystem, Shore says that from a security perspective, while there may be more operational effort in this area, you also have more options for security as a whole because it’s not just proprietary. He adds that the parallel efforts taking place in the area of automation can and should simplify and streamline this type of thing.

With announcements like its Coriant Groove G30 solution that enhances the capabilities of the network disaggregation platform, Coriant Vibe, the Carrier-class White Box Platform Enabled by Flexible Programmable Packet Technology and now its NOS solution, Shore says all feeds into Coriant’s wider goal which is “commitment to open networking solutions concept.”