Edgecore Networks launches Minipack open modular switch for 100G and 400G networking

Created March 21, 2019
Technologies and Products

Open networking systems developer Edgecore Networks has announced the introduction of Minipack, which it describes as the industry’s first open modular switch for 100G and 400G networking, conforming to the Minipack Fabric Switch design contributed today by Facebook to the Open Compute Project.

Minipack is a disaggregated whitebox system providing a flexible mix of 100GbE and 400GbE ports up to a system capacity of 12.8Tbps, suitable for the deploying the next generation of high capacity data centre fabrics, Internet exchanges, and high bandwidth service provider infrastructures with the flexibility and cost benefits of open networking.

“We have contributed the Minipack design to OCP in order to stimulate additional design innovation and to facilitate availability of the platform to network operators,” said Hans-Juergen Schmidtke, Director of Engineering, Facebook. “We welcome Edgecore’s introduction of Minipack as a commercial whitebox product.”

He added, “Facebook designed Minipack as a fabric switch with innovative performance, power optimization and modularity to enable our deployment of the next generation data centre fabrics. We have contributed the Minipack design to OCP in order to stimulate additional design innovation and to facilitate availability of the platform to network operators.”

The Edgecore Minipack AS8000 Switch is an open network platform that enables network operators to select disaggregated NOS and SDN software options from commercial partners and open source communities to address different use cases and operational requirements.

Edgecore has ported and validated Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC), the OCP open source software platform, on the Minipack AS8000 Switch as an open source option for high capacity data centre fabrics. In addition, Cumulus Networks® has announced the availability of its Cumulus Linux operating system for the Edgecore Minipack switch, as the industry’s first fully supported commercial disaggregated software option on a modular 100G/400G switch for enterprises and data centres.

George Tchaparian, CEO, Edgecore Networks, commented, “Network operators are demanding open network solutions to increase their network capacities with 400G and higher density 100G switches based on open technology. The Edgecore Minipack switch broadens our full set of OCP Accepted open network switches, and enables data centre operators to deploy higher capacity fabrics with flexible combinations of 100G and 400G interfaces and pay-as-you-grow expansion.”

“The open and modular design of Minipack will enable Edgecore and partners to address more data centre and service provider use cases in the future by developing innovative enhancements such as additional interface modules supporting encryption, multiple 400G port types, coherent optical ports and integrated optics, plus additional Minipack Switch family members utilizing deep-buffer or highly programmable or next generation switching silicon in the same flexible modular form factor.”

The Minipack switch is a modular system capable of supporting a mix of 100G and 400G Ethernet interfaces up to a maximum of 128x100G or 32x400G ports. Minipack is based on an internal main switch board with Broadcom StrataXGS Tomahawk 3 Switch Series silicon capable of line rate 12.8Tbps Layer2 and Layer3 switching. The Minipack front panel has eight slots for port interface modules (PIM). The first PIM options available for the Edgecore Minipack switch are the PIM-16Q with 16x100G QSFP28 ports, and the PIM-4DD with 4x400G QSFP-DD ports. The Minipack modular switch is a 4U form factor, power optimized for data centre deployments, and includes hot-swappable redundant power supplies and fans for high availability.

Bill Carter, CTO, of the OCP Foundation, commented,  “The simultaneous announcements today of Facebook’s contribution of the Minipack design to OCP and Edgecore’s introduction of Minipack as a whitebox product with commercial and open source software options shows the power of collaboration in the OCP community around open platforms and the rapid pace of innovation that brings to the industry and network operators. Minipack makes the next generation of performance in open networking available to network operators and will be an important platform for further innovation within the OCP community.”

For  more information, visit www.edge-core.com

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This article was written
by Matthew Peach

Matthew Peach is a freelance technology journalist specialising in photonics and communications. He has previously worked for several business-to-business publishers, editing a range of high-tech magazines and websites.