Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Barefoot's Deep Insight monitoring leverages P4 programmable switching silicon

Barefoot Networks, a start-up developing user-programmable switching chips, introduced a network monitoring system designed to provide visibility into every packet in a network.

The Barefoot Deep Insight software, which can run on commodity servers and in a network powered by switches based on Barefoot’s "Tofino" programmable switch chip, can interpret, analyze and pinpoint packet telemetry. Using stateful baselining of a network's performance, the company says its software automatically filters out irrelevant data, detecting only anomalies at any time scale and with nanosecond resolution. The Deep Insight software is able to track the sequence of switches the packet visited along its path, the set of rules it matched upon at every switch along the way, the time it spent buffered in every switch, to the nanosecond, and the packets, flows and application that the packet shared each queue with.


“Network monitoring is still stuck in the dark ages,” said Nick McKeown, co-founder and chief scientist at Barefoot Networks. “To get detailed visibility, some network owners are forced to deploy a second network that costs more than the first, just to watch what their network is doing. With Deep Insight, every switch in the network gathers data for you without any additional hardware, and without generating additional traffic. Deep Insight sits at the network edge, detecting and reporting network anomalies.” 

Barefoot is offering the network monitoring system on a pay-as-you-grow model, where customers pay only for the volume of telemetry they need.

Barefoot said its Deep Insight system could be especially useful in enterprise data centers, where many-to-one traffic patterns associated with applications such as Hadoop and HDFS can result in congestion, queue build-up and increases end-to-end latency. The Tofino switching silicon can detect the queue build-up and take a snapshot of every packet header during the congestion event. The Deep Insight software could then be used "to visualize the full dynamic of a congestion event, down to each individual packet, exposing the aggressors and the victims flows."

Barefoot is also highlighting the P4 programmability of its Tofino chip. This provides the flexibility to design for specific use cases without writing data plane code or modifying the silicon.


Alibaba, AT&T, Baidu, Tencent adopt Barefoot forwarding plane


Barefoot Networks, a provider of advanced, high speed switching technology, announced significant market momentum driven by growing demand for its programmable forwarding plane technology.Barefoot's 6.5 Tbit/s Tofino switch, which is claimed to be the fastest and P4-programmable switch chip, has been sampling to customers since the fourth quarter of 2016. The company noted that its technology is being adopted by large enterprises and telecommunications...


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