Arrcus' OS makes the jump to 400G white box switches

San Jose, California-based Arrcus is laying claim to the industry's first white box network operating system for 400 gigabit network switches.

The Arrcus operating system, ArcOS, supports multiple 400GbE and high-density 100GbE switching platforms that will compete with proprietary offerings from Juniper Networks, Cisco and Arista Networks.

ArcOS will help enterprises and service providers build cloud network platforms that support video, artificial intelligence, 5G, machine learning, internet of things and storage-based workloads at hyperscale.

ArcOS runs on StrataXGS Trident 3 and StrataDNX Jericho-based hardware, and now Broadcom’s StrataXGS Tomahawk 3 silicon. While the ArcOS supports multiple hardware platforms, the 400G version is currently available on Celestica or Edgecore Networks switches.

"We are the world's first and industry's first internet-scale independent network operating system," said Arrcus founder and CEO Devesh Garg in an interview with FierceTelecom. "ArcOS is a microservices-based architecture. It's modular and it's hardware agnostic. Along the way, we had to put the best protocols in, and make it as flexible and extensible on the northbound side so it could work in any environment.

"We've done that by employing OpenConfig/YANG based models that then give us the ability to automate and create compatibility with all of the industry standards around NETCONF, RESTCONF and SNMP."

ArcOS also supports standards such as OpenDaylight, Chef and Puppet.  Arrcus came out of stealth mode in July with support for Broadcom's StrataXGS Trident 3 and StrataDNX Jericho Plus-based solutions.

Garg said Arrcus was founded with the goal of creating an open, networking operating system that wasn't locked into proprietary solutions such as the ones that are offered by Cisco and Arista.

"We really wanted to give the marketplace viable alternatives to the Ciscos and the Aristas of the world who sell a vertically integrated solution," Garg said. "We saw tremendous innovation at the component level. We saw tremendous innovation at the system level but the missing link had been an independent NOS that would really unleash all of that innovation.

"We wanted to make sure that ArcOS was widely deployable. So, whether you're deploying it on any hardware or in a VM or in a container or in a cloud instance, we have that flexibility."

ArcOS' use cases include data centers, peering, route reflectors and cloud-centric capabilities. Arrcus doesn't say who its customers are, but Garg said ArcOS has been widely deployed.

Juniper Networks got on the 400G scoreboard first when it announced in July that it was putting 400GbE capabilities into its PTX IP transport series, MXWAN series and QFX data center series products. Arista Networks and Cisco both announced 400GbE switches in October.

As for white box operating systems, Garg said first-generation software vendors such as Cumulus Networks, IP Infusion, SnapRoute and Metaswitch haven't been deployed on a large scale to date.

Garg points to Arrcus' deep pockets and the range of expertise it has in its stable as differentiating factors. Arrcus raised $15 million in series A funding last year from General Catalyst and Clear Ventures, and Garg said there would be additional funding rounds going forward.

Arrcus' advisers include Pankaj Patel, former executive vice president and chief development officer of Cisco; Farzad Nazem, the former chief technology officer of Yahoo; Fred Baker, a former Cisco Fellow, IETF chair and co-chair of the IPv6 Working Group; Nancy Lee, ex-VP of people at Google; Shawn Zandi, director of network engineering at LinkedIn; and Kelly Ahuja, the former senior VP of Cisco's service provider group.

When it comes to white box operating systems, Arrcus isn't the only game in town.

In March, the Linux Foundation announced the Disaggregated Network Operating System (DANOS) project to enable community collaboration across network hardware, forwarding and operating system layers. DANOS is based on AT&T’s “dNOS” software framework.

In September, AT&T, which has been a big proponent of disaggregating network elements, released its white box specifications into Facebook's Open Compute Project ahead of deploying thousands of white box routers at its cell sites.

RELATED: AT&T powers up white box cell site gateways in production test

In December, AT&T's Andre Fuetsch announced at the ONF Connect conference that his company now has white box cell site gateway routers deployed in a large-scale production test.

The software stack running the white box cell site gateway routers is AT&T’s dNOS software framework. In March, AT&T said it would install more than 60,000 open-source, software-designed white boxes at its cell tower locations over the next several years.