For marketers
who love technology
Home » , » What router supplier does Google use ?

What router supplier does Google use ?

Of course, I do not know which suppliers Google uses. That's a pretty confidential information.

However, given the (amazing) company culture at Google and the margin of router vendors, I expect Google to be tempted of using their in house routing devices. It's not as easy as one could think, because routers use sophisticated ASICs and memories. So for the moment, that kind of project is experimental. Many small ISPs are known for using Quagga / Zebra but no big one because large ISPs require a much wider set of features than the ones provided with Quagga. That being said, I would not be surprise to see some deployments in the future even in large ISPs / content providers.

Guess what... Google employees contribute actively to opensource router software and hardware projects.

In particular, opensource-lsr, as its name indicates provides opensource software and hardware for label switched routers (MPLS routers). Google employees (Scott Whyte) even presented the project to NANOG, a prominent discussion forums for network people. The hardware design is based on FPGA, which are notoriously less efficient (in terms of energy and speed) than custom ASICs. That's a limitation for industry scale deployment, but not at all for experimentation.

The project looks great and they even are looking to integrate software defined network features based on OpenFlow in their opensource router. The key building blocks of the project are
  • mpls-linux (how to enhance a linux computer with MPLS features), 
  • quagga-ldp (Quagga is THE opensource router implementation, the project enhances it with LDP features), 
  • NetFPGA (the code for hardware 
Google seems to use Quagga internally, as they have release in opensource Google-quagga, their fork of the routing software.

If find these projects so cool! I wish them great success. Now, let's have a look to their limitations:
- The opensource-lsr project tackles the LSR because it's a very simple router. It just commutes packets, so it is much easier to implement the features required by an LSR than the ones required by and LER. But... Speed matters for LSRs : today, the LSRs used by largest ISPs support 10G/40G and 100G ports. The current opensource implementation provides only 4 1G ports, so there is still some work to be done before they can be used on the field.
- Both projects support a very limited number of protocols and are very very far from the reliability and security levels required by ISPs.
These are just two of a long list of limitations, but they are enough to prevent any serious ISP from using these solutions in production network.


About Gilles


Post a Comment