Metaswitch Networks, a global company with regional offices across the US, UK, Middle East, South America and Asia-Pacific, is contributing the initial code base for Project Calico, their open-source initiative that would enable the implementation of large, standards-based, cloud data center infrastructures. The code is available to the worldwide community of network operators, software developers and systems integrators at Projectcalico.org.
Project Calico represents a new approach to virtual networking, based on the same scalable IP networking principles that are widely deployed within the Internet backbone.
While today’s smaller cloud data centers leverage Layer 2 techniques, such as Ethernet VLAN, they can quickly hit inherent scaling limits of that technology. Alternatives such as VXLAN, GRE and SDN-controlled flows, however, are inherently complex in the networking domain and add unnecessary processing overheads on host machines.
The technology behind Project Calico leverages the fact that the vast majority of today’s workloads are based on IP and that Internet core routing and route discovery techniques, namely the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), would be perfect tools for architecting high-performance, large-scale networks. By tightly integrating with cloud operating systems, such as OpenStack, Project Calico provides the framework for orchestrated IP routing in between virtual machines (VMs) and host machines, along with intra and inter-data center interconnects.
Scalable, efficient and simple
“With Project Calico, we’ve made it possible to build cloud connectivity so that it looks a lot like Internet connectivity,” said Martin Taylor, Metaswitch’s chief technical officer (CTO). “Project Calico integrates seamlessly with the cloud orchestration system, such as OpenStack, to enable secure IP communication between virtual machines and, in doing so, it provides an approach to virtual networking that is scalable, efficient and simple.”
Metaswitch believes sharing the Project Calico code base will encourage more industry innovation and help today’s network operators evolve into software telcos. The company is in the process of working with a variety of partners to form an ecosystem that will support technology interoperability and shared expertise to help network operators build solutions using Project Calico.
Metaswitch is a company developing openly programmable solutions that run on standard hardware or in virtualized environments and act as the key control points in elastic voice, video and data networks. In its 30-year history, Metaswitch has helped hundreds of service providers worldwide advance their infrastructures, and reduce their costs through every major network transformation.