128 Technology has developed a new approach to networking called Secure Vector Routing (SVR). SVR is session-oriented, meaning it can recognize and control stateful, bi-directional exchanges of data as they are routed across networks. SVR is inherently service centric, enabling a far-tighter alignment between the network and the applications it supports. And because it’s entirely software-based, SVR can be put anywhere and everywhere – providing new levels of security and intelligence throughout the network. The result is a network architecture that is dramatically simpler than what’s come before.
Nearly every use of a network involves a unique, stateful exchange of information between endpoints known as “sessions.” In fact, most advanced network functions available today – firewalls, load balancers, etc. — require an understanding and control of session state. However, because of performance demands and hardware limitations, routers have traditionally been stateless in nature.
That is about to change. Powerful commodity hardware and software innovation now mean that routers can handle state – and many of the advanced network functions AROUND the router can be made native to the router itself.
As a result, routers can now recognize when a TCP or UDP session is occurring, understand the unique characteristics associated with the sessions source and destination, and apply security, performance, and control functions to the session as a whole, across the entire network.
The result is a network architecture that is fundamentally simpler, smarter, and more secure. For example, the use of session orientation allows the 128T Networking Platform to provide secure, deterministic routing without the use of tunnels or overlay techniques.
Networks exist to connect end-users to services and applications, and network design should start with the service at the core. Business logic drives network architecture, not the other way around.
The 128T Networking Platform (128T) places services and applications first by using a new kind of network data model — one defined in terms of services, the tenants that access those services, and the policies that apply to both. This approach is the opposite of traditional approaches where the network is configured in a “bottoms-up” manner – around device topology and IP addressing. 128T works in a “top-down”, hierarchical way, allowing to build the network around the business logic of services and the consumers of services.
What’s more, 128T describes tenants and services intuitively using what we call Qualified Service Names (QSN) instead of IP addresses, also known as “routing with words.” This makes the design, configuration and management of networks far easier for network architects and administrators.
Using QSNs, tenants, services and their associated policies are defined and federated across multiple instances of 128T routers using STEP (Services and Topology Exchange Protocol) that operates in conjunction with existing IP control plane protocols. As a result, services topologies and policies can be easily distributed across multiple networks (public, private, data center, WAN, fixed, and mobile). This centrally managed and distributed approach reduces network complexity and dramatically increases service reach and agility.
The 128T Networking Platform is 100% software based and can be deployed on any general purpose x86 computing platform, supporting a broad range of form factors — from mini-PCs to white box switches to datacenter-scale servers. This allows a wide range of deployment models– from remote branch offices to high-capacity network edges to hyper-scale data centers.
This kind of versatility means that advanced secure networking can be put just about anywhere. Routed fabrics can leverage the same technology across WAN, campus, and datacenter environments for multiple use cases, but with a unifying platform.
A software based approach also enables new, innovative approaches to pricing and licensing models. In contrast to legacy models that are fixed, node and capacity-based, 128 Technology has created a unique pricing approach that is network-wide, fully elastic and metered based on true bandwidth utilization.
The combination of flexible deployment and new pricing models — both made possible by a software approach — removes many of obstacles to the cost, complexity and the chore of deploying and configuring routed architectures.