Improving Network Performance and Lowering Costs for Managed Service Providers and Cloud Service Providers

Today Pluribus is introducing the industry’s first fully virtualized white box multi-tenant data center gateway router (DCGR). After examining the data center routing market and talking extensively to customers, we realized that there was an opportunity at the DCGR location to deliver better functionality and higher performance at a fraction of the cost of existing solutions. Customers will now be able to improve their services and their margins at the same time.

Why Introduce this Now?
Enterprises are increasingly migrating key applications and data from on-premises locations to private cloud environments owned by managed service providers (MSPs) and regional cloud service providers (CSPs). In addition, we are seeing the repatriation of some workloads from public hyperscalers to hosted private cloud – in fact, based on an IDC study,1 47% plan to repatriate to a hosted private cloud environment, spending $6B on hosted private cloud services in 2019 alone. In response, regional CSPs and MSPs are investing in private cloud infrastructure. The cumulative spend by the off-premises private cloud segment on hardware infrastructure (server, storage and networking) for 2019-2023 is expected to be $50.7B.2 However, these MSPs still need to provide their customers connectivity to public cloud hyperscale providers, and that is via the DCGR. We believe these service providers need a cost-optimized DCGR solution that delivers affordable public cloud interconnect capabilities together with deep network slicing for full isolation and security of each tenant.

What Is a Data Center Gateway Router?
Over the past decade, we have seen distributed applications drive an increase in east-west server-to-server traffic, with an average of 75% of traffic staying inside the data center. This has created a huge push to modernize the data center infrastructure into a flatter leaf and spine architecture, with 10/25G server uplinks to the top of rack (TOR/leaf) switch and 40/100G uplinks to the spine switch that supports high-performance server-to-server east-west communications. Many CSP, MSP, colocation, hosting and other service providers have deployed white box leaf and spine networks to cost-effectively deliver east-west traffic.

However, 25% of the traffic still leaves the data center in a north-south direction, and more and more of that traffic is routed across high-speed private fiber connections found at cloud exchange locations cross-connected to SaaS providers and public hyperscale cloud providers like Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. However, in spite of the rapid growth of these private interconnection architectures, data center operators still typically deploy full internet edge routers at the data center gateway location.

Typical DC Architecture for Regional CSP

The first thing to note is that many of these edge routers do not offer deep slicing, which is beneficial for multi-tenant operations. We define deep slicing as each tenant having its own dedicated, containerized and hardware-accelerated routing instance. Furthermore, these high-end edge routers are typically designed with expensive custom application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and enough memory to hold the entire internet routing table – which is fast approaching 1M routes, according to CIDR.

Active BGP entries (FIB)

If the primary application is to connect to public cloud providers, and one only needs a default route to the hyperscaler’s own gateway router, then only a handful of routes should be needed per tenant to support their north-south connectivity needs. Based on our internal analysis and discussions with customers, 10K routes should be plenty.

The Industry’s First White Box Multi-tenant Data Center Gateway Router
The Pluribus Freedom Series 9532C-XL-R is a multi-tenant gateway router based on an Edgecore white box design featuring merchant silicon from Broadcom, a powerful Intel Xeon quad-core CPU and open source Linux-based Netvisor® ONE release 5.1. The Pluribus Freedom 9532C-XL-R is Open Compute Project (OCP)-compliant and is built with the Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) to support any open network operating system for maximum flexibility and adaptability to meet future data center networking requirements. This compact and power-efficient 1RU platform delivers up to 32 x 100 GbE, up to 128 x 10/25 GbE or any mix thereof via low-latency QSFP28 FlexPorts with 6.4 terabits per second (Tb/s) full duplex and 4.7 billion packets per second (Bp/s) throughput, even when complex, process-intensive services are enabled.

The solution features 32 hardware-accelerated virtual routers, each running a full, containerized instance of Linux Foundation FRRouting for full data plane, control plane and management plane isolation. The value of these high-performance virtual routers is in not only overall improved security but simplifying the migration of customers to the MSP/CSP infrastructure with minimal operational impact – for example, even overlapping private AS numbers are easily accommodated because each virtual router has its own BGP instance, so IP addressing changes are not required.

Pluribus Freedom Series F9532C-XL-R: Multi-tenant White Box DC Gateway Router

In addition to the white box foundation, the platform is further cost-optimized with the right amount of memory to hold up to 128,000 routes in hardware – ideal for the data center router location. This results in the platform coming in, on average, at about 1/5th the cost of a traditional full-featured internet router based on list pricing. For smaller data centers, this can be a significant savings, and there is a clear trend toward increasing the distribution of data centers, which we expect will only accelerate with the onset of edge compute – so the time is right.

Finally, while the Freedom 9532C-XL-R can be deployed with any leaf and spine infrastructure, deploying a full Pluribus solution can deliver the benefits of our Adaptive Cloud Fabric™ across your single-site or multi-site data center. This includes the ability to slice the fabric, ensuring that all tenant traffic is completely isolated in both the east-west and north-south directions.

Multi-tenancy Isolation Can Be Achieved North-South and East-West

Paolo Bombonati, COO of Econocom International Italia, which recently launched the Naboo Cloud, says this: “We already have a Pluribus leaf and spine network deployed across four distributed data centers, expanding to six, with full network slicing for east-west traffic. With the addition of the white box multi-tenant data center gateway router, we can now increase our footprint while delivering better control and security at a lower price to our customers – making us more competitive in the market.”

If you are also interested in improving performance and security for your customers while lowering your data center costs, then contact us or call your local Pluribus sales representative.

The Freedom 9532C-XL-R is currently in field trials and will be commercially available with Netvisor ONE release 5.1 in July 2019.

Additional Resources:
Data Sheet
Data Center Gateway Solution Web Page


[1] The New Private Cloud Opportunity: New Platforms, New Use Cases, New Opportunities, Doc #US44315618
[2] Source: IDC’s Quarterly Cloud IT Infrastructure Tracker 2018 Q4, March 2019

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About the Author

Mike Capuano

Mike Capuano

Mike is Chief Marketing Officer of Pluribus Networks. Mike has over 20 years of marketing, product management and business development experience in the networking industry. Prior to joining Pluribus, Mike was VP of Global Marketing at Infinera, where he built a world class marketing team and helped drive revenue from $400M to over $800M. Prior to Infinera, Mike led product marketing across Cisco’s $6B service provider routing, switching and optical portfolio and launched iconic products such as the CRS and ASR routers. He has also held senior positions at Juniper Networks, Pacific Broadband and Motorola.