Facebook Unveils A Networking Switch To Take On Biggies

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Facebook unveiled its own networking equipment system to put a dent in the fortress of companies such as Cisco

Facebook showcased a networking equipment system to compete with products from companies such as Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks. Facebook’s product dubbed the “6 pack” will allow the company to design networks by filling large racks with a smaller switch known as a wedge, which was launched last year in June.

Facebook switches to force rivals to improve design

In the beginning, it was being promoted as a low-cost, top-of-rack switch, but the purpose behind it was to build a block for systems to replace more expensive machines, according to Najam Ahmad, Facebook’s vice president of infrastructure.

Until now, Facebook had to get its traditional networking switches from suppliers, according to Ahmad, who said this without clearly revealing those suppliers. Now the 6 pack system will take the place of these systems and will encourage traditional equipment makers to change their designs.

“I see this as a challenge, as an opportunity for them, rather than a threat,” Ahmad said.

The social networking company succeeded in lowering its expenses by building indigenous designs without taking help from outside suppliers. The 6 pack will replace the high capacity spine switches that handle massive amounts of traffic in the company’s data centers.

Many firms taking benefits of Facebook technology

Facebook has been working with other companies since 2011 to develop low-cost systems for its data centers. These data centers store tens of thousands of server computers that save and give information to its website and other services. With this initiative of Facebook, suppliers such as Synnex and Quanta Computer have benefited, but companies such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard are challenged by increasing competition.

The social networking site has been sharing its findings and technologies through a group called the Open Compute Project, which drives various companies to work together and design lower-cost systems. Other companies that have joined the group are Microsoft and IBM.

According to Infonetics Research, the spine switch market totaled $2.9 billion in 2014 and was more profitable compared to the $3.1 billion top-of-rack switch market.

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About the Author

Aman Jain
Aman is MBA (Finance) with an experience on both Marketing and Finance side. He has worked as a Risk Analyst for AIR Worldwide, and is currently leading VeRa FinServ, a Financial Research firm. Favorite pastimes include watching science fiction movies, reviewing tech gadgets, playing PC games and cricket. - Email him at amanjain@valuewalk.com

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