Facebook has produced another computer network innovation that will again shame the $41 billion network tech industry, says Business Insider. The social network will share the computer network with the world for free, making life hard for commercial network technology vendors. The innovation — dubbed “Backpack” — was unveiled on Tuesday.
Backpack a successor to 6-Pack
Facebook’s Backpack — the successor to 6-Pack, which was released last year — is a second-gen computer switch. 6-Pack challenged the tech made by market leader Cisco and others like Juniper. The only difference between the two is that the Backpack is very fast.
6-Pack was a 40G switch, meaning it could stream about 40G of data around a data center network, while Backpack is much faster with a 100G optical switch. This means it is 2.5 times faster. Also it uses fiber optics rather than the traditional and more limited copper wires to move data around.
Also Backpack is a companion to the Wedge 100 switch, which the social media giant announced last spring. The Wedge 100 — also called a “top of rack” switch — connects a rack of servers to the network. The Backpack connects all the Wedge 100 switches. This is called a “network fabric” in network jargon, BI explains.
The social media giant is trying to build a full 100G data center for itself, and these two innovations, along with the network equipment that the tech giant revealed last week will surely get it much closer to that.
New day of open networking
Open source and modular are the catchwords for network infrastructure now, whether you are delivering VR videos or internet connections. On Tuesday, AT&T gave an update on its huge migration from software-based architecture to dedicated servers, and Facebook showcased the most powerful modular data center switch yet.
Jay Parikh, Facebook’s head of engineering and infrastructure, said emerging virtual reality apps and live video will depend on the additional speed. Parikh said that Facebook’s innovative projects begin with small internal teams and depend on larger groups of partner companies, like software vendors and manufacturers, to test and build the concepts.
“We want to show the community and the world that there are innnovative [sic] approaches to solving these challenges and getting people connected faster than … traditional solutions are on a path to do,” Parikh said.
On Wednesday, Facebook shares closed down 0.84% at $123.18. Year to date, the stock is up almost 18% while in the last year, it is up more than 15%.