Barefoot Networks, a start-up developing user-programmable switching chips, announced partnerships with Taiwan-based network switching equipment firms Edgecore Networks and WNC. The first switches based on Barefoot's Tofino chip are expected to debut this quarter. The chip began sampling in Q4 2016.
Barefoot’s programmable Tofino switch chip processes packets at 6.5 terabits per second while providing a fully programmable forwarding plane. Barefoot's chip is designed for user programmability via the open-source P4 programming language, enabling precise control over packets and bringing entirely new features into the switch—for example, features that replace load balancers, features that replace firewalls, features that add packet-by-packet telemetry enabling rapid debug of distributed application behavior.
Barefoot said its Tofino Ethernet switch chip removes the last barrier to full network programmability – the “closed” forwarding plane – allowing those building and running networks to code the desired behavior of the packet processing devices on their network – down to the packets flowing on the wire.
"Edgecore Networks is delighted to partner with Barefoot Networks to offer our customers open network switches based on Barefoot’s Tofino 6.5 Tb/s Programmable Ethernet Switch series,” said Loren Staley, CTO of Edgecore Networks. “Our expertise as a leader in open networking, combined with the industry’s fastest and P4 programmable switch silicon, will deliver new capabilities to our data center, telecom and enterprise customers. Edgecore will offer two systems based on Barefoot's Tofino silicon— Wedge100BF-32X, a 32x100GbE switch, and Wedge100BF-65X, a 65x100GbE switch—with evaluation units available in Q1, 2017.”
“WNC is excited to announce the availability of its Barefoot Networks Tofino-based switch series,” said Dr. Gerry Liu, Senior Vice President, Global Business Development, WNC, an industry leader in the design and manufacturing of advanced communication products. “Barefoot Networks’ delivery of Tofino, along with the growing ecosystem around the P4 programming language, unlocks new opportunities for the networking industry. We are building OSW1800, a 1RU 48x25GE+6x100GE system and a OSW6500 2RU 65x100GE system, for availability in Q1 and Q2, 2017 respectively.”
“For the past 20 years, network switches and routers have been built from ‘fixed function’ silicon, which means we’ve had to live with the features picked by chip designers,” said Martin Izzard, CEO and Co-Founder, Barefoot Networks. “Chip designers don't build networks. So instead, Barefoot is putting its customers in charge. From now on, the features and protocols supported by switches, routers, load-balancers and firewalls will be decided in software, written by the equipment vendor or network owner. We’re delighted to count these innovators as charter partners, and to work together to liberate network designers from the limitations of fixed-function networks.”
- Barefoot Networks was co-founded by Nick McKeown, a Stanford professor and co-founder of Nicira (acquired by VMware), Martin Izzard, Pat Bosshart, and Dan Lenoski VP Engineering.