June 20, 2014
Facebook has unveiled its Wedge computer networking switch designed to work with commercial and open-source networking products. The switch will shift data rapidly through the largest data centers, while blending functions of a server within a network device. While the switch is currently designed to operate at 40 gigabits per second, it should soon upgrade to 100 gigabits per second. Networking companies may need to reconsider their strategies if faced with new mass networking solutions.
“It could be a big deal, since a successful product like this could threaten the market control, and profit margins, of companies like Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and Arista Networks,” explains The New York Times.
Facebook network engineering VP Najam Ahmad said Microsoft, Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg are three companies that have already expressed interest in working with the product.
“The bigger strategy here is to get computer networking out of the black box, black operations part of the world,” said Ahmad. “We have tons of software engineers at Facebook, they can all work on network stuff now.”
He also added that traditional networking companies will probably need to adjust their strategies accordingly as cheaper mass networking boxes become more desirable.
Under project Open Compute, Facebook has made hardware available as open source for years. They plan to share ideas and allow the maximum number of people to work on new designs in order to lower the costs of computing hardware.
“The last three or four years we focused on scaling up the main Facebook application,” said Facebook engineering VP Jay Parikh. “In the last year or so we’ve been investing in longer term tech bets – things three, five, 10 years out.”