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Facebook develops open source technology to enable 100G

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Facebook open source switch

Facebook is all set to bring its projected 100-gigabit data access a reality through a new open source technology. Called Wedge 100, the latest switch design has just been accepted by the Open Compute Project (OCP) to enable data centres with faster speeds.

The 32-port Wedge 100 is the successor to Facebook’s two-year-old Wedge 40. It is claimed to deliver 100Gbps speed. On the software front, the switch design uses FBOSS and OpenBMC.

“Creating Wedge 100 was a complex endeavor, but we were able to iterate on the hardware and software with confidence because of our learnings from creating and deploying Wedge 40,” Facebook engineers Alex Eckert, Luis Martin Gracia and Reza Niazmand and Xu Wang wrote in a joint blog post.

Facebook’s team reused some of the hardware components that were initially available for Wedge 40. It is also worth noting that the latest hardware is designed to support open source FBOSS platform with 100G ASIC chips and optics.

The model of the next-generation Wedge is not a fresh one. It has already been used internally at Facebook.

“At Facebook, we use Wedge 100 in our production environments, and we continue to deploy it at scale across our data centres,” the engineers revealed in the post.

The switch design has a COM-Express Type 6 compact form factor in 95mm x 95mm size and comes with support for COM-Express module form factor (95mm x 125mm). Additionally, it offers ease to network architects through hot-pluggable fan trays and provides fan tray status via an LED.

Facebook Wedge 100 open source switch

Facebook Wedge 100

Taiwan’s Edgecore Networks is selling a switch based on the Wedge 100 design. Open source software makers Big Switch Networks and Canonical, on the other hand, are preparing the platforms.

Facebook now against Cisco and HPE

The attempt of making a 100G switch design open to the community has pushed Facebook to the race against Cisco and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE). The social networking giant, however, has a strong community presence to encourage engineers towards its offering against any other ones.