Build Your Own Service Provider Gear on Software Gone Wild
A few days after I published a blog post arguing that most service providers cannot possibly copy Google’s ideas Giacomo Bernardi wrote a comment saying “well, we managed to build our own gear.”
Initially I thought they built their own Linux distribution on top of x86 server, but what Giacomo Bernardi described in Episode 59 of Software Gone Wild goes way beyond that:
- Together with an ODM manufacturer they built their own hardware;
- They pushed their hardware through rigorous safety, environmental and emission testing – after all, those boxes sit out there in the wild attached to a radio tower;
- They build their own Linux distribution and hardened it as much as possible – sending a technician to a remote mountain to fix a failed software upgrade is a non-starter;
- Using 6Wind library they implemented a highly distributed forwarding architecture using dozens of low-cost CPU cores;
- Together with university researchers they built a central controller that solves the centralized traffic engineering challenge;
- On top of everything else they implemented their own CLI and network management system.
Each one of those bullets would be good enough to trigger VC funding for a startup, but they did all of that with a team of just a few people… and deployed it in large-scale production… in approximately a year. Comparing what such a small team can do with all the hype and unicorn dust bursting out of Silicon Valley makes one really depressed.
For more details (and pictures of really cool and hot equipment) watch the video and slides of Giacomo’s RIPE69 presentation.
That was quite a show. Thanks Ivan and congratulations to Giacomo and his assault team. That's an impressive job you did.
This was quite an episode, and this infrastructure sounds comparable to the much larger "SDN" stuff we hear about (Google B4, LinkedIn, etc). Mind boggling that you manage to build all this on a small team and limited time.
Thanks Ivan for recording it, congratulations to Giacomo and his team for the good work.