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Networking middleware adds backbone bridging tech

Feb 11, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 12 views

Networking middleware vendor IP Infusion announced it will ship a new version of its Linux-compatible, carrier-grade networking software in April. ZebOS Network Platform 7.7 adds support for OpenSAF high-availability (HA) standards, as well as Provider Backbone Bridge-Traffic Engineering (PBB-TE), a technology aimed at large carrier Ethernet networks, says the company.

ZebOS is a Layer 2 and Layer 3 carrier-class routing and switching software suite, says IP Infusion, a subsidiary of Japanese mobile software vendor Access. The middleware is said to support provider edge, metro access/aggregation, and mobile backhaul equipment, as well as data center switches and enterprise switches and routers (see below for more details).

The new PBB-TE technology is something of a controversial development in the telecom and networking industries, as described in this April 2008 Light Reading article. Held up as an alternative of sorts to MPLS (multiprotocol label switching), PBB-TE is designed to bridge carrier-grade and metro transport networks. The technology is said to integrate traditional Sonet/SDH-like features with carrier-grade Ethernet, which offers lower costs and a packet-switching focus. Yet MPLS stalwarts claim that the technology is unnecessary and overhyped.

IP Infusion, whose ZebOS is heavily invested in MPLS, now supports both technologies, which appears a likely course for the industry. In fact, ZebOS 7.7 adds new MPLS features, including a Bidirectional Forwarding Detection (BFD) feature to improve the resiliency of MPLS signaling.

ZebOS 7.7 includes the following features, says IP Infusion:

  • Provider Backbone Bridge-Traffic Engineering (PBB-TE) support
  • Bidirectional Forwarding Detection (BFD) support, providing “enhanced resiliency for IP routing and MPLS signaling”
  • Non-stop forwarding (NSF) for IP and MPLS
  • BGP Route Server (hardened implementation) for carrier networks using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware
  • OpenSAF support for high-availability (HA) middleware
  • MPLS support for “pseudowires” across multiple Packet Switched Networks (PSNs)
  • Broadcom StrataXGS IV networking processor support

ZebOS architecture

Based on the Zebra open-source router project, which is sponsored by IP Infusion, the ZebOS platform is said to support IPv4, IPv6, MPLS, and a variety of Metro Ethernet and carrier networking standards. It is compatible with VxWorks and Linux, with specific ports provided for MontaVista and Wind River Carrier Grade Linux (CGL) distributions. The platform has been adopted by up some 170 customers since it was introduced nine years ago, says the company.

ZebOS combines a Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL), used to communicate with the underlying networking processor, with a Platform Abstraction Layer (PAL) for coordinating with the operating system (see diagram above). The ZebOS management interface is said to offer configuration and monitoring features, as well as tools for managing protocols for routing and switching.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based IP Infusion bills itself as a provider of software for Next Generation Network (NGN) equipment manufacturers and converged IP services providers, NGN is a broadly defined term referring to a host of high-end packet-switched networking technologies.

CEO Koichi Narasaki
is taking on new roles
at parent company Access.

(Click for details)

Stated Koichi Narasaki (pictured), president and CEO, IP Infusion, “ZebOS 7.7 is pre-integrated with leading merchant silicon and operating systems as well as high-availability middleware.”

Earlier this week, Access announced that IP Infusion's Narasaki had been named SEO/CSO of Access, while retaining his CEO position at the IP Infusion subsidiary. In addition, IP Infusion's CTO Kunihiro Ishiguro will also take on the roles of SEO, CTO, and CIO of Access. The parent company is primarily known for its LiMo-compatible Access Linux Platform (ALP) mobile stack.


ZebOS 7.7 will be available in April, says IP Infusion, which is demonstrating the release this week at the MPLS & Ethernet World Congress, Stand 111, Feb. 10-13 in Paris, France. More information on ZebOS may be found here.

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