Flock Networks was founded in 2019 by Nick Carter, a CCIE certified network engineer with 30 years’ experience in the networking industry.

Nick has worked at the sharp end of networking, having designed and operated the Data General (now EMC) European data network. In these early days of peer to peer data networking, Nick quickly learnt how important the data network had become to end users. Sharing a building with hundreds of salespeople who could occasionally no longer sell anything due to a network outage, was a “formative experience”.

Nick understands the network equipment sales process, having provided technical presales support to account teams selling to ISPs and Telcos. Nick, and his customers, were surprised by the different behaviours exhibited by software releases named 3.67.4(b).27e.x27-1a and 3.67.4(b).27d.x21-1y [Actual release names changed to protect the (not so) innocent].

Nick spent many enjoyable years as a software developer in the Cisco Express Forwarding (CEF) team. The CEF team had the responsibility for software packet-based forwarding and programming the forwarding hardware in Cisco IOS and Cisco IOS XR. Nick learnt that developing in C is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you get very fast code. On the other hand, you need thousand’s of engineers, to create network equipment that costs millions of USD, that will mysteriously crash after days in production due to memory corruption bugs.

Nick then joined the Vyatta developers working on the IP routing control plane. Whilst studying and amending the BGP, OSPF and RIB code Nick was surprised that none of the performance optimizations used by the data plane had made it into the control plane.

By 2019 Nick had concluded that “Customers want to buy and operate their networking equipment the same way they buy and operate their compute nodes”.

Over the previous years, the networking industry had already been getting reluctantly steered that way. The public cloud providers were pushing for a ‘disaggregated router’, where a router could be assembled from ‘best of breed’ components. This model appealed to Nick, so he decided to write a ‘best of breed’ IP routing suite. This IP routing suite would be compatible with any disaggregated router. Nick formed Flock Networks in October 2019, to do just that.

Nick had been following the Rust language with interest since 2015, and it looked to him like the future of systems programming. Nick dreamed about just how efficient a routing protocol suite written from scratch in Rust would be.

Now in 2020, that dream has become a reality, with the creation of the third generation of IP routing suite. Give your hardware a break, download the Flock Networks IP routing suite, install it and watch your hardware fly.

Nick is CCIE #5901 Routing and Switching and holds an BSc in Computer Science from the University of Manchester.

If you are interested in hearing more about Flock Networks we were recently featured on The Hedge podcast #55 with Russ White. You can also see Ethan Banks doing a recorded live steam using the first ever version of the Flock Networks Routing Suite (v20.0) back in March 2020.

For any additional information about Flock Networks please email info@flocknetworks.com

Flock Networks Ltd, Company Number 12235913, incorporated 2019.