Sunday, December 12, 2004

Hammerhead Aggregates at Layer 2.5 for Pseudowires, Dry Martini

Hammerhead Systems, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, extended its switching solution to include unique "Layer 2.5" capabilities aimed at accelerating the delivery of metro Ethernet services using new "PseudoWire" and "Dry Martini" technologies. The company said service providers are experiencing a need for high-density Layer 2.5 traffic aggregation because existing access services (wireline, broadband, broadband fixed wireless and 3G) are typically based on Layer 2 connection-oriented technologies, while new services are based on Layer 3. For example, enterprise networks increasingly are seeking VPNs that include existing FR/ATM locations as well as Ethernet-connected offices.

Hammerhead is extending its HSX 6000 platform, which already supports the migration of Frame Relay / ATM services onto MPLS backbones, so that it can be used as an aggregation platform in an Ethernet service architecture, offering native Gigabit Ethernet as well as Ethernet-over-SONET (both GFP and x.86) trunking capabilities. On the subscriber side, the HSX 6000 switch offers high-density fan-in across a range of new and legacy service interfaces, media and speeds, including Ethernet. The switch is optimized for efficient grooming and SLA assurance. Significantly, Hammerhead said its service interworking capability scales to support over one million flows on a single switch. Hammerhead supports both MPLS and ATM control planes.

Unlike traditional multiservice switches, Hammerhead's Layer 2.5 Aggregation platform provides Layer 3 application awareness and MPLS connectivity. This includes PseudoWire aggregation, grooming and operational features. PseudoWires provide the ability to emulate the full breadth of Data-Link and Transport Layer services across any core network. Hammerhead has been active in driving the PseudoWire (PWE3) Dry Martini technical drafts through the IETF. Dry Martini extends PseudoWires beyond MPLS to work across any infrastructure, including SONET and ATM.

  • Hammerhead aggregation platform leverages a unique switch architecture that "virtualizes" expensive system resources, enabling a higher efficiency and service density than other Layer 2 service aggregation platforms. Key to the design is a Distributed Service Interworking Engine that is bi-directional, control plane agnostic, and scales to handle thousands of fine-grained flows. Hammerhead has developed a Bandwidth Pooling Architecture that allows switch processing cards to be shared by physical interface cards. The company said this innovation would free-up switch resources that are otherwise stranded when lower-rate interface cards are deployed in an aggregation switch. The virtualization of forwarding processors also provides redundancy without having to buy a separate back-up processor card for each physical interface. Hammerhead has also implemented a dual control plane architecture -- both ATM and MPLS running simultaneously.

  • Earlier this month, Hammerhead Systems named Peter Savage as President, CEO and Chairman. He previously led Applied Digital Access (ADA) as President and CEO, and Chairman of the Board, from a small private company through an IPO, three acquisitions, and an acquisition by Dynatech. He was also President and CEO of Hatteras Networks, President and COO of Commterm – Alliance Telecom, and President and COO of Xylogics. He has also served as a Director of Atmosphere Networks, and Path 1 Network Technologies, and an officer of Infinet and Frederick Electronics – Plantronics. Previously, Savage held technical and management positions at Bell Laboratories.

  • Hammerhead has a strategic distribution partnership with Fujitsu Network Communications in North America.

  • Hammerhead has raised $43 million in venture funding to date.

See also