Metaswitch inks go-to-market partnership with Dell EMC around their Composable Network Protocols

Metaswitch has entered into vendor reseller agreements that go beyond technical integrations before, but this is their first one in the Composable Network Protocol part of their business.

Simon Dredge, Metaswitch’s Director of Technical Marketing

Today, Metaswitch and Dell EMC are announcing a new partnership through which Dell will leverage Metaswitch’s expertise in MPLS networking stacks. Dell EMC will deliver a complete portfolio of Composable Network Protocols [CNP] on their Dell EMC OS10 Open Edition on ONIE-enabled platform.

Partnering is central to the business model of U.K.-based Metaswitch, whose products are deployed today by over 250 network OEMs.

“Metaswitch has been around for 35 years in one form or another,” said Simon Dredge, Metaswitch’s Director of Technical Marketing. “We were called Data Connection before 2010. Since our inception, we have been developing protocol stacks, ranging from Session Border Controllers to BGP routing stacks. Our protocol stacks are used by vendors who want to get product out to market but who don’t want to develop their codes from scratch. So they buy source code from us and integrate it into their product, and we also provide affiliated professional services and handholding. In 2010, we took the stacks and for the first time, marketed them in the US to deliver softswitches to network operators. That was when we changed our name. Since then, Metaswitch has evolved further, and is becoming well known in the  worldwide mobile space for mobile telephone softswitches, as those finally move to virtualized platforms.”

The Metaswitch CNP provide completely disaggregated network software solutions for deployments ranging from Layer 2 to Layer 3 fabrics, VPN interconnect and carrier-grade MPLS infrastructures. Their routing and control plane protocols install and operate as binary applications on top of network operating systems including OpenSwitch.

“Network disaggregation 1.0 was all about the decoupling of hardware and software in white box switches,” Dredge said. “This is network disaggregation 2.0, which adds the full decoupling of the network operating system hardware and software. Dell EMC has had the option of using a fully disaggregated open source routing stack, but if they want a commercial grade protocol stack, they’ve not had the option up to now. Dell took OpenStack and made it OS 10 Open Edition – their ‘Red Hat’ version of OpenStack, if you will. Their customers then wanted the same for the protocol stacks, because they are as critical as the operating system. The OS runs the box but the protocol stacks run the network. Just relying on open source for this dramatically limits you, so partnering with us turned out to be a necessity for them. We can provide protocol stacks that you just can’t get from the open source community.”

Dredge said that the partnership will bring capabilities to Dell EMC customers that only the Googles and Amazons have had until now.

“The big hyperscale players have already been doing this, but it requires their engineering resources,” he said. “That’s not a model which is consumable by mid-scale or even high-scale data centre providers. These high-scale and mid-scale data centre operators will be the initial targets of this, as well as the enterprises who run big data centres.”

While adding this capability is a first for Dell EMC, partnering in this way is a first for Metaswitch.

“The reseller model is not a new model for Metaswitch, but it is the first time we are doing it with protocol stacks,” Dredge said. “With this, we are repackaging our classic protocol stacks into applications. We have also worked with Dell in the past in a lot of different areas, but this is the first reseller agreement we have made with them. They are not just taking our technology and integrating it, but they are reselling those protocol stacks.”

Separate from the Dell EMC agreement,  Metaswitch is also announcing the availability of its CNP portfolio for white box routing platforms, to create a new generation of these platforms with fully-decoupled control plane components and open management interfaces.