Get to Know the Industry’s First White Box Multi-tenant Data Center Gateway Router

Pluribus Networks today rolled out a white box, multi-tenant data center gateway router that it says costs about one-fifth the cost of traditional data center gateway routers.

The new product targets regional cloud service providers (CSP), managed service providers (MSP), and colocation providers that would typically deploy traditional internet edge routers by Cisco or Juniper Networks at the at the data center gateway location — this sits at the border of the data center for North-South traffic. These edge routers do not typically offer deep slicing, which is beneficial for multi-tenant operations. Additionally, these routers usually include expensive custom ASICs and enough memory to hold up to 1 million routes for the entire internet routing table.

“That’s where we see the opportunity to go attack that market space,” said Mike Capuano, Pluribus Networks CMO. “We’re going to replace this internet edge router with a cost-optimized white box.”

The Pluribus Freedom Series 9532C-XL-R uses Broadcom merchant silicon and Intel CPUs, and it’s based on the Edgecore design. It also includes less memory than a typical internet edge router. “If you are connecting to these public clouds, you don’t need the full routing table,” Capuano explained, adding that a typical regional CSP or MSP probably needs about 10,000 routes. “It has up to 128,000 routes to be safe, but you don’t need 1 million routes.”

With the new product, each tenant receives a dedicated, containerized, and hardware accelerated virtual router running Linux Foundation open source FRRouting providing full isolation across the data, control, and management planes. The containers can be provisioned, moved, and decommissioned with zero effect on the other tenants. Limits can be imposed on the resources allowed to one or another container.

It runs Pluribus’ Netvisor ONE operating system and will be generally available in July.

The deep slicing capabilities are unique, said IHS Markit analyst Michael Howard. “It’s a deeper, more feature-full set of functions than I’ve seen,” he said. “They really do isolate each tenant and give them their own resources. It’s a real, deep slice that is isolated from any other tenant using that router.”

Pluribus calls the product the “industry’s first” white box, multi-tenant data center gateway router. And Howard said that’s an accurate statement. “I haven’t seen anything like it,” he said, adding that it’s a smart move because of what’s happening in the data center market, and he expects more vendors to soon follow suit.

“Mini data centers are being placed all over, including eventually at cell sites, and operators are going to have these smaller, distributed locations — and a lot of them,” he said. “It’s a natural, new product to fill this emerging space where you don’t need a major router like in the hyperscaler’s data centers. It’s a smart move.”

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This post originally appeared on the SDxCentral.

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