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Metaswitch Networks Announces Project Calico

Metaswitch Launches a New Open-Source Initiative Aimed at Providing a Community-Driven Solution for Delivering Hyper-Scale Data Centers

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwired) -- 07/08/14 -- Metaswitch Networks today is contributing the initial code base for Project Calico, an open-source solution that enables 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 http://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.

First established in enterprise data centers, network virtualization techniques are becoming increasingly important for emerging network operator infrastructures, providing the foundation for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). 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), are the 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.

"The largest Internet-based companies in the world are building hyper-scale data centers that are virtualizing at Layer 3, and that approach makes a lot of sense," says Martin Taylor, Metaswitch's chief technical officer. "With Project Calico, we've made it possible to build cloud connectivity so that it looks a lot like Internet connectivity. 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.

"While we focus on data plane acceleration to enable NFV, the scalability of virtual network control plane solutions must also be addressed. Project Calico appears to address this scalability, enabling [virtualized network functions] VNFs to communicate without the complexity and limitations of VLANs or overlay schemes," says Eric Carmès, founder and CEO of 6WIND. "Our 6WINDGate packet processing software complements Project Calico by accelerating Layer 3 forwarding so as to deliver the highest data plane performance, adding another dimension of scalability to the solution."

"We were already impressed by Metaswitch's Project Clearwater. Our collaboration enabled instant IMS deployment, integration and scaling," says Maarten Ectors, Ubuntu strategy director. "Calico is even more ambitious. Ubuntu is happy to extend our strategic partnership and collaborate on instantly deploying, integrating and scaling Calico in OpenStack with Juju."

"Cloud networking today suffers from a lot of complexity that has value in only a handful of use cases," says Truman Boyes, a network scientist at Bloomberg LP. "Project Calico takes out the excess complexity and provides a solution that is more scalable, more efficient and far easier to configure and troubleshoot. We're really excited about the possibilities of Project Calico."

"The architecture behind Calico is a wonderful demonstration of the networking model that will dominate the next generation of large-scale data centers," says Daniel Siders, CEO of Flynn. "We're delighted that Metaswitch has shared their work with the community and look forward to collaborating to spread adoption of this new model."

Neuron Initiative
Project Calico is part of Metaswitch's Neuron Initiative, a path toward intelligent network function virtualization for network operators. The Neuron Initiative delivers a framework for NFV by combining a foundation for intelligent virtualization with a realistic approach to SDN-centric, high-scale data center and wide area infrastructures that meet both the technical and business challenges of this emerging carrier architecture. For more on Metaswitch's Neuron Initative, please visit: http://www.metaswitch.com/nfv.

About Metaswitch Networks
Metaswitch is powering the transformation of communication networks into a cloud-based, software-centric future. The company develops 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, retain their customers, extend their brands and reduce their costs through every major network transformation. For more information, please visit: http://www.metaswitch.com.

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