Cumulus, Facebook Push Open Data Center Interconnect

26 Oct 2018 by Bob West

Cumulus Networks, the leaders in building open, modern, and scalable networks, has made a crucial step in data center interconnect technology. The company launched the industry-first Transponder Abstraction Interface, bringing interoperability and openness to data center interconnect technology. Cumulus Networks announced the launch at the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) Summit in London.
The new development is in collaboration with NTT Electronics, the Telecom Infra Project, and Facebook. It builds on Cumulus’ earlier work to make its open networking Linux operating system available on Voyager, the Facebook-designed transponder and router for DWDM (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing) networks. Facebook contributed Voyager to TIP to address operator needs for scalable, cost-effective backhaul infrastructure in support of increasing global internet usage and bandwidth-intensive applications.

TAI defines an API for providing a vendor-independent way to control transponders from various vendors and implementations in a uniform manner. This will free network OS vendors from the struggle of software development to support new hardware. Also, it allows chip vendors to take their products to market more easily with the existing network software that can support them out of the box. The initial reference device driver written by Cumulus Networks is open sourced through the Telecom Infra Project GitHub repository.

The new TAI, in fact, pushes the boundaries of openness and disaggregation into the Voyager project. “Over the last year, we have increased our efforts to bring innovative solutions to TIP and Voyager so that customers can face the challenges of running efficient, packet optical networks at scale. We are thrilled to introduce TAI to customers today and we look forward to continuing our efforts with TIP, Facebook, ADVA, and others to bring more solutions like this to market,” said JR Rivers, CTO of Cumulus Networks.

Cumulus Networks had announced its intent to make Cumulus Linux available on Voyager at last year’s Telecom Infra Project Summit. Since then, Cumulus has seen successful trials of Voyager with Vodafone, NYSERNet, Internet2, GRnet, and CESNET.

“We are excited to see how multiple partners are working together to solve the integration challenge. This is an important step towards making disaggregated solutions evolve faster, and we’re pleased to see how Cumulus has been one of the leaders of the initiative,” said Luis MartinGarcia, Network Technologies Manager, Facebook.


Bob West

Bob West is a tech-savvy, digital enthusiast with a deep-rooted passion for data centers, cloud, internet exchanges (IX) and cryptocurrency. He was a driving force within the original team that built in 2011. It’s his belief that a new breed of data centers will become increasingly important as we move towards IoT, AI, and edge computing.

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