Compass-EOS unveils SDN Forwarding Plane

Router vendor Compass-EOS has offered its take on software-defined networking (SDN) with its SDN Forwarding Plane. While the forwarding plane technology will enable operation of the company’s routers in a "white box" format within an SDN environment, it also will enable the systems’ use in a "hybrid" architecture in which the routers maintain the intelligence needed to optimize flows while responding to commands from the SDN cloud.

Router vendor Compass-EOS has offered its take on software-defined networking (SDN) with its SDN Forwarding Plane. While the forwarding plane technology will enable operation of the company’s routers in a "white box" format within an SDN environment, it also will enable the systems’ use in a "hybrid" architecture in which the routers maintain the intelligence needed to optimize flows while responding to commands from the SDN cloud.

The SDN Forwarding Plane and the company’s AnyFLOW architecture enable open, secure, and scalable flow transmission, according to Asaf Somekh, vice president of marketing and business development at Compass-EOS. The architecture enables an SDN controller’s classification and packet manipulation to override the SDN Forwarding Plane’s normal routing decisions. The approach enables efficient SDN classification while eliminating the need for TCAMs and thus saving power and cost, Somekh explained.

In hybrid mode, the Compass-EOS routers respond to SDN service enablement commands while maintaining the intelligence necessary for efficient topology resolution. This approach is significantly more efficient and powerful than a "white box" routing approach, Somekh asserted. The company’s routers have been designed with such use in mind, and therefore fielded systems will only require a straightforward software upgrade, he added.

The efficiency of the approach has already been demonstrated in a trial in an OpenDayLight SDN environment, Somekh said. (It’s designed to support multiple open standard protocols for northbound connectivity with SDN controllers including OpenFlow and Netconf.) Two customer trials are currently ongoing. Somekh said the SDN Forwarding Plane will become commercially available in the first quarter of 2015.

At the same time, the company announced that it was increasing the scale of it icPhotonics technology, its silicon-photonics-based chip-to-chip interconnect approach, to enable an increase in total system capacity from its current 1.34 Tbps to greater than 10 Tbps.

The SDN Forwarding Plane has garnered at least one fan in the market research and analysis community. “The concept of a new networking element that is scalable, secure, and open is what the industry needs to realize the vision of software-defined networking. Combining it with a breakthrough in throughput and radically lower power consumption – through the icPhotonics technology – is truly impressive,” said Michael Howard, co-founder and principal analyst, carrier networks, at Infonetics Research, via a Compass-EOS press release.

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