Network Visibility with Barefoot Deep Insight

The speed of multi-gigabit networks has largely outpaced the legacy monitoring tools traditionally used by network engineers. Tom Hollingsworth outlines how Barefoot Networks uses their programmable Tofino chipset and the P4 language to provide modern monitoring using their Barefoot Deep Insight solution.


PQ Show 106: Whitebox, SD-WAN & More – An NFD14 Wrapup

It’s a Networking Field Day delegate super show on the latest episode of the PQ Show podcast! Greg Ferro, Drew Conry-Murray, Eyvonne Sharp, and Kevin Myers all give their impressions from Networking Field Day from January. SD-WAN, Whitebox networking, analytics, and orchestration are all on the table. Give it a listen and check out our video coverage for more details.


Barefoot Networks looks to redefine ASIC in network device design with its Tofino chip

Barefoot Networks gave details about their programmable Tofino chip for switches at Networking Field Day. Keith Townsend gave the presentation videos a look, and thinks they could have a big impact on the networking space. The immediate value is that the programmability should allow for new services to be integrated into switches on a much tighter release window. But more importantly, whitebox vendors could customize switches to individual clients, with hyperscale deployments like Facebook only need a very specific subset of functions to prioritize on performance. And unlike programmable x86 processors in switches, there’s no sacrifice in performance, with Barefoot claiming Tofino can manage 6.5 Tbps.


Whitebox networking – coming soon to an edge near you?

Whitebox networking was a hot topic at Networking Field Day last month. Kevin Myers wrote up a nice summery of what he saw on it. He starts with a brief history, then goes into an interesting application, using whiteboxes outside the data center as edge devices. Big Switch was positioning them that way in their presentation, and the implications of Barefoot Networks also saw them positioning whiteboxes for outside the data center. It’s an interesting trend.


ASIC Programmability from Barefoot Networks

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.


Cumulus Networks Walks A Fine Line With New Switch Hardware

Drew Conry-Murray looks at the implications of Cumulus Networks announcement of Cumulus Express. This is a program whereby Cumulus will sell switch hardware with their Cumulus Linux distribution pre-installed. Drew found it a little surprising that a company that made its name pitching disaggregation would take the approach. He reviews what they’re offering in the product line, and how recent announcements from hardware vendors could use their switch operating system.


Barefoot Networks and the Burden of Design

Rich Stroffolino looks at what Barefoot Networks presented at Networking Field Day. It’s a pretty ambitious product, a completely programmable networking switch called Tofino. It uses the P4 programming language to allow for everything from the parser to all tables to be customized or excluded all together. Tofino offers this without compromising performance, in fact, Barefoot claims it’s the fastest switch in the world, capable of 6.5Tb per second. Rich has more details and implications in the piece.


Two Takes On ASIC Design

Tom Hollingsworth saw a presentation from Barefoot Networks that made him rethink ASIC design. Competing designs from Cisco put some programmable elements inside the ASIC. But Barefoot fully abstracts functionality via it’s P4 programming, the ASIC is completely configurable in code. This combines reduce complexity and increase speed. In an impressive ground-up rethink of what a network switch can do!


Barefoot Networks Announces First Switches With Programmable Tofino Chip

Barefoot Networks made a big announcement prior to their presentation at Networking Field Day this week, new programmable networking switches using Tofino silicon! Delegate Drew Conry-Murray reviews the what the switch will be offering, including 32 and 64-port 100 GbE models, available in Q1. We’re looking forward to learning more about them, and to Barefoot Networks’ presentation at Networking Field Day!