Barefoot Networks’ Ethernet switch chip wins Network Innovation Award
#Tofino, a high-speed programmable chip that brings #softwaredefinednetworking capabilities to the forwarding plane, aims to revolutionize the network.
What problem does #BarefootNetworks ‘ Ethernet switch chip solve?
Ed Doe: Data planes inside of networks have always been very rigid and fixed — hardcoded into the chips that drive Ethernet switches and routers. Barefoot has come up with an open source programmable chip technology that allows people to innovate at the speed of programming. You can update that forwarding or data plane through an open source programming language, which we call P4.
So, now, for example, if a new protocol for better networking for containers comes along, then you can upgrade with a simple program. Historically, you’d have to go rip and replace all the hardware and come up with a new chip to support the new protocol.
What other benefits does the Tofino Ethernet switch chip offer?
Doe: It allows organizations to scale out their networks, letting them allocate resources to the features they care about. A lot of people also want to get more visibility to avoid network outages. With the programmable data plane, you can instrument the network to instantaneously identify a point of failure and then immediately fix it. So, it’s almost like a self-healing network.