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Calix's Goal is to Bring SDN to the Access Network

October 29, 2015

On October 27, 2015, Calix, Inc. announced the launch of its new Linux-based network operating system and software platform called Access eXtensible Operating System, or AXOS. Calix built this platform specifically for the access network. This solution is completely hardware-independent, allowing all software functions to be developed and run without relying on underlying hardware and associated silicon chipsets.

Calix is a supplier of telecommunications access equipment for service providers. The company is a North American provider of broadband communications access systems and software for fiber and copper-based network architectures that enable communications service providers to connect to their residential and business subscribers.

The AXOS platform can be broken down into the following three core principles:

  • Fast - Modular, reusable software components with the ability to run on technologically diverse hardware without modification, reducing software qualification time, increasing new service velocity, and mitigating upgrade risks.
  • Always On - In-service upgrade capabilities and built-in logic that eliminate service disruptions, constrain and automatically recover from faults, and prevent side effects caused by new software functions or human error.
  • Simple - Open, standards-based, fully programmable management and control APIs that reduce operational complexity, enable automated workflows, and provide compatibility with SDN-aligned operational support systems for maximum interoperability.

Senior vice president of systems products at Calix, Michel Langlois, commented, "For over a decade now, Calix has been in pursuit of a unified access infrastructure that would seamlessly connect the device-enabled subscriber to the applications and content in the cloud. With AXOS, we now have a single software platform that places the communication service provider in the unique position to distribute services and intelligence across the entire access network with a distributed architecture. Thus, each service provider armed with the AXOS platform can choose between a wide spectrum of system form factors and merchant silicon capabilities, a key advantage and critical success factor in building service velocity and creating competitive advantage."

Image via Shutterstock

All components and operational functions within AXOS use standard NETCONF protocol and YANG data models. This enables AXOS powered systems to easily and quickly fit into any open SDN arrangement and control framework. Open, published APIs also allow customers to directly program unique network applications and services. The result is significantly reduced operational complexity, leading to cost savings.

Fiber Mountain is a startup company that just celebrated its first year in business. The privately funded company, headed by founder and CEO M. H. Raza, believes that traditional top of rack switches can be swapped out with software-controlled optical cross connects.

He refers to this as Glass Core. It provides software-controlled fiber optic connectivity  which emulates the benefits of direct-attached connectivity from any port to any other server, storage, switch, or router port across the entire data center, regardless of location and with near-zero latency.

As new technologies and platforms emerge, networking infrastructures have to change and keep pace. Companies such as Calix and Fiber Mountain provide both software and hardware solutions that provide easy transitional methods which provide seamless platforms designed to ease the burden.

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere

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