Facebook’s vaunted 6-pack switch platform makes its debut

Facebook has just launched the “6-pack” a modular switch platform which is based on “Wedge” switch. The platform is consists of two stages that has 12 independent switching elements. Each element can transfer data at a break-neck speed of 1.28Tbps and driven by their respective operating system situated on the local server and are independent from each other, from low-level board control to cooling system to switching. This will imply that the company will can alter any part of the system with relative ease and without impact to the system-level, hardware or software.

The social network giant employs two configurations: 16x40GE ports to the front and 640G (16x40GE) at the rear.

Facebook has whipped up an incubator for its own networking equipment to prevail over some restraints in commercial systems, which the company stated as “tend to be too closed, too monolithic and too iterative for the scale at which we operate and the pace at which we move.”

Aside from the Wedge switching platform, the company’s engineering team has also developed a switching platform and a data center fabric which it dubbed as F-Boss. The operating system of this platform is based on the Linux and its networking elements are in production beta test.

Facebook intends to offer the 6-pack switching platform as a contribution to the Open Compute Project. The company is also leaning towards competing with Cisco in the switching niche.


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