Barefoot Networks presented their fully programmable Tofino switch at Networking Field Day last month. It left an impression on a lot of our delegates, including Aaron Conaway. He came away impressed that Tofino is the opposite of a fixed-function ASIC. By being fully programmable, the switch is essentially a blank slate, that can be completely reprogrammed in a software update taking 50ms. The other implication is that the switch can insert tracking information natively to your traffic, all while maintaining high performance. It’s a total rethink on how a switch can behave. This may put the burden of providing features to the switch OS makers, but it still turns a switch from something fixed in stone to a dynamic part of your network.
Aaron has been doing networking for quite a while and has worked in several industries ranging from multi-billion-dollar payment gateways to critical Internet infrastructure. The breadth of his exposure includes experience in the architecture, design, implementation, and operations of routing, switching, firewalling, and load balancing.