Switch Chip Targets Programmable Networks
@BarefootNetworks, the high-flying networking chip startup that recently emerged from stealth mode, unveiled a zippy switch that it asserts is also fully programmable as the startup targets networking bottlenecks in software-defined datacenters.
The Palo Alto startup co-founded by chief scientist @NickMcKeown, the former Stanford University engineering professor, is claiming multiple networking records along with fully programmable hardware. Meanwhile, the switch startup has so far raised $130 million in backing from investors that include #Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and #GoldmanSachs (NYSE: GS) Principle Strategic Investments.
The company said its #Tofino switch chip doubled the current speed record, processing packets at 6.5 terabits per second. Nevertheless, company founders stressed programmability as the differentiating factor for its chip technology, allowing network operators to specify the performance required of packet processing devices.
That means “network owners and their system vendors can determine precisely how packets are processed,” the startup noted in a statement. By eliminating the “tyranny of fixed-function switch chips,” Tofino would allow “software developers to program their network in much the same way they program a computer,” the company added.
While nearly everything in the datacenter has changed over the last two decades, McKeown noted that the basic switch architecture has stubbornly remained “fixed-function.” The prevailing view since the mid-1990s was that programmability came with a performance penalty.
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