Showing posts with label Barefoot. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Barefoot. Show all posts

Monday, June 10, 2019

Intel to acquire Barefoot Networks for programmable switching silicon

Intel agreed to acquire Barefoot Networks, a start-up developing programmable Ethernet switch silicon and software for use in the data center. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Intel said the acquisition will support its focus on end-to-end cloud networking and infrastructure, enabling it to better compete in the Ethernet switching segment.

Barefoot, which is based in San Jose, California, is shipping the second generation of its P4-programmable Tofino Ethernet switch application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) family.

Tofino 2 delivers 12.8 Tbps of packet processing capacity for hyperscale data centers, cloud, enterprise and service provider networks. The device leverages 7nm process technology and is designed for full P4-programmability.

Tofino 2 highlights:

  • World’s first 7nm switch ASIC 
  • Supports up 32x400GE on a single chip.
  • Supports up to 256x10/25/50GE ports on a single chip.
  • Fully P4-programmable, enabling various deployment options, from a standard top-of-rack switch to a service provider router, or even a feature-rich switch appliance. 

  • Support for extra large table sizes for routing, tunnels, and access control lists (ACLs).
  • Support for Barefoot SPRINT- Barefoot's enhanced version of the industry-standard In-band Network Telemetry (INT), providing fine-grained per-packet intelligent real-time visibility of network traffic. 
  • Leverages the growing industry-wide P4 Ecosystem supported by multiple switch and network interface controller (NIC) chips.
  • Modular architecture enabling rapid integration of 112G SerDes and silicon photonics.
Tofino 2 was announced in December 2018. Customers cited in the Barefoot press release include Goldman Sachs, Cisco, Alibaba Infrastructure Services, Tencent, Baidu, JD Cloud, and Ucloud. Barefoot has also announced design wins with Arista, Edgecore and others.

https://www.barefootnetworks.com/
https://newsroom.intel.com/editorials/intel-acquire-barefoot-networks/#gs.i7cnfy

Founded in 2013, Barefoot is backed by investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital. The company has raised approximately $155 million in five funding rounds, most recently raising $23 million in November 2016 in a round led by Alibaba and Tencent.


Monday, December 10, 2018

Barefoot's Tofino 2 chip delivers 12.8 Tbps switching for 32x400GE

Barefoot Networks is now sampling its Tofino 2 chip, the second generation of its P4-programmable Tofino Ethernet switch application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) family.

Tofino 2 doubles the performance of the first generation Tofino chip, now delivering 12.8 Tbps of packet processing capacity for hyperscale data centers, cloud, enterprise and service provider networks. The device leverages 7nm process technology and is designed for full P4-programmability.

Tofino 2 highlights:

  • World’s first 7nm switch ASIC 
  • Supports up 32x400GE on a single chip.
  • Supports up to 256x10/25/50GE ports on a single chip.
  • Fully P4-programmable, enabling various deployment options, from a standard top-of-rack switch to a service provider router, or even a feature-rich switch appliance. 
  • Support for unrivaled table sizes for routing, tunnels, and access control lists (ACLs).
  • Support for Barefoot SPRINT™- Barefoot's enhanced version of the industry-standard In-band Network Telemetry (INT), providing fine-grained per-packet intelligent real-time visibility of network traffic. 
  • Leverages the growing industry-wide P4 Ecosystem supported by multiple switch and network interface controller (NIC) chips.
  • Modular architecture enabling rapid integration of 112G SerDes and silicon photonics.
“Until Tofino arrived in 2016, networking switch ASICs hadn’t changed much in 20 years; they all ran pretty much the same tired old features. Our industry is stuck in a dinosaur way of doing things, and it takes years to add new features,” said Nick McKeown, Co-Founder, and Chief Scientist at Barefoot Networks. “Thankfully, networking is changing. Tofino, the first chip based on the PISA architecture, moved protocols - old and new - up and out of hardware into software, where they evolve at the pace of software. Tofino started it, now Tofino 2, at twice the capacity and twice the resources, demonstrates there is no going back. Within five years all switches will be programmable. We believe programming your network should be as easy as programming your computer.”

Customers cited in the Barefoot press release include Goldman Sachs, Cisco, Alibaba Infrastructure Services, Tencent, Baidu, JD Cloud, and Ucloud.

https://www.barefootnetworks.com/products/brief-tofino-2/

P4 Programmable Data Plane offloads network functions



Thanks to the P4 programming language, the next generation of switches can perform network functions and workloads that previously required dedicated appliances or x86 processing, says Prem Jonnalagadda, Director of Product Management, Barefoot Networks. Prem discusses early use cases and highlights Barefoot's new Tofino 2 silicon. Filmed at ONF Connect.

https://youtu.be/w_SPW03Kh1g


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Arista introduces leaf and spine switches powered by Barefoot silicon

Arista Networks introduced a family of multi-function leaf and spine platforms powered by Barefoot Networks' Tofino series of P4-programmable Ethernet switch chips.

The new Arista 7170 Series switches, which run the Arista EOS (Extensible Operating System) SDK, can boost server performance by offloading Hypervisor vSwitch networking functions such as tunnel termination, security policy enforcement and address translation onto the leaf switch, allowing more work to be accomplished by the compute pool, saving equipment costs and lowering power and cooling.

The 7170 Series is available in two configurations to address both leaf and spine roles:
  • The 2U 7170-64C supports up to 64 ports of 100G or 12.8Tbps, with up to 5Bpps of packet forwarding and a fully shared packet buffer.
  • The 7170-32C is a compact 1U with 32 ports of 100G and the same range of profiles.

The 7170 Series is available now, with a choice of EOS Profiles. Additional profiles will be released over time, with the security and telemetry profiles planned for August 2018. Pricing starts at $1200/100G port for the 64 x 100G system.

“With the Arista 7170 Series and EOS we are able to offer new and interesting features that leverage the flexible pipeline of the 7170 Series. At the same time, we took advantage of the programmability to increase the scale of many existing features for tunnel encapsulation, filtering, traffic analysis and address translation,” said Hugh Holbrook, Vice President, Software Engineering for Arista Networks.

"With Tofino, Barefoot has proven that programmability can be delivered without compromise on performance and I believe that future switch chips will be fully programmable - there is no reason not to. It allows protocols to be lifted up and out of hardware into software. Arista’s first Tofino based platforms do exactly that, using P4 to deliver customized profiles to their customers. Programmable switches take differentiation in the market to a whole new level. This is going to get interesting.” said Nick McKeown, Chief Scientist and Co-Founder at Barefoot Networks.

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 providers to increase network performance and efficiency through leveraging programmable forwarding plane technology.

Barefoot stated that it has recently worked with AT&T and SnapRoute to deliver what it believes is the first real-time path and latency visualisation. Utilising Tofino and In-band Network Telemetry (INT), AT&T was able to gain deep insight into the network down to packet-level for the first time to help to address bottlenecks caused by path or latency variation.

Barefoot noted it took 6 weeks to develop the visualisation capability before it was deployed into AT&T's production environment carrying live customer traffic over a Washington DC to San Francisco link.

In addition, major Internet companies Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent have used Tofino and P4 to address challenges in their networks. Barefoot noted that the demands of mega-scale data centres are growing to support new applications and services, while legacy fixed-function switching technology is not sufficiently flexible and so they are using Barefoot to develop custom forwarding planes. The companies are therefore able to adopt load balancing, DDoS protection and INT features without affecting performance.

Barefoot has also expanded its ecosystem via partnerships with equipment manufacturers based in Asia. To date, the company has announced go-to-market partnerships with Edgecore Networks, WNC, H3C, Ruijie and ZTE. These partnerships are designed to enable Barefoot to meet growing demand for programmable networking across a range of network environments.



  • Barefoot Networks, based in Palo Alto, California, exited stealth and unveiled its user-programmable Tofino switch chip in June 2016. Founded in 2013, Barefoot is backed by investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital. The company has raised approximately $155 million in five funding rounds, most recently raising $23 million in November 2016 in a round led by Alibaba and Tencent.

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...


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

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 providers to increase network performance and efficiency through leveraging programmable forwarding plane technology.

Barefoot stated that it has recently worked with AT&T and SnapRoute to deliver what it believes is the first real-time path and latency visualisation. Utilising Tofino and In-band Network Telemetry (INT), AT&T was able to gain deep insight into the network down to packet-level for the first time to help to address bottlenecks caused by path or latency variation.

Barefoot noted it took 6 weeks to develop the visualisation capability before it was deployed into AT&T's production environment carrying live customer traffic over a Washington DC to San Francisco link.

In addition, major Internet companies Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent have used Tofino and P4 to address challenges in their networks. Barefoot noted that the demands of mega-scale data centres are growing to support new applications and services, while legacy fixed-function switching technology is not sufficiently flexible and so they are using Barefoot to develop custom forwarding planes. The companies are therefore able to adopt load balancing, DDoS protection and INT features without affecting performance.

Barefoot has also expanded its ecosystem via partnerships with equipment manufacturers based in Asia. To date, the company has announced go-to-market partnerships with Edgecore Networks, WNC, H3C, Ruijie and ZTE. These partnerships are designed to enable Barefoot to meet growing demand for programmable networking across a range of network environments.



  • Barefoot Networks, based in Palo Alto, California, exited stealth and unveiled its user-programmable Tofino switch chip in June last year. Founded in 2013, Barefoot is backed by investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital. The company has raised approximately $155 million in five funding rounds, most recently raising $23 million in November 2016 in a round led by Alibaba and Tencent.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Barefoot Tests its Switch Performance with Ixia IxNetwork + Novus

Network testing solutions provider Ixia announced that Barefoot Networks, developer of high-performance, programmable switch solutions, has chosen its 100 Gigabit Ethernet test solutions to validate the Tofino series of programmable switches launched in June last year.

Utilising the Ixia solutions, Barefoot will be able to ensure that its Tofino switches deliver the performance network operators demand, as well as test the functionality enabled by its programmable packet processing pipeline, for example new or custom protocols, in-band network telemetry and load balancing.

Barefoot's Tofino switches are based on technology that is designed to enable a fully programmable Ethernet switch that does not suffer a performance penalty to its 6.5 Tbit/s traffic processing capability. To validate the performance, scale and quality of these switches, Barefoot test engineers can use Ixia's IxNetwork and Novus 100 Gigabit Ethernet solutions to recreate real-life traffic patterns and load characteristics.

Ixia's IxNetwork offers a complete chip, device and network infrastructure test solution that can be used to validate Layer 2/3 performance, interoperability and functionality. Capable of analysing up to 4 million traffic flows simultaneously, IxNetwork is designed to provide enhanced real-time analysis and statistics. Featuring eight native QSP28 100 Gigabit Ethernet ports, the Ixia Novus load modules can generate terabytes of data to simulate real-world network traffic and Layer 2/3 protocols.

In combination, the Ixia solutions provide a test platform designed to enable full line-rate 100 Gigabit Ethernet evaluation of application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) designs, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and hardware switch fabrics.

Recently at MWC, Barefoot Networks partnered with Netronome, a provider of intelligent networking solutions, to demonstrate a solution combining the Agilio CX SmartNIC platform and its Tofino P4-programmable switch to deliver precise, real-time network telemetry data required to detect, root-cause and resolve network problems.

The joint solution showed how a DevOps approach can be used to triangulate performance issues to VMs and NICs in servers or network switches and thereby enable the detection of poorly performing virtual network functions (VNFs) in service chains.

https://www.ixiacom.com/


  • In January, Barefoot announced that it was sharing its Wedge 100B series switches, including the Wedge100BF-32X 3.2 Tbit/s 1 RU 32 x 100 Gigabit Ethernet and Wedge100BF-65X 6.5 Tbit/s 2 RU 65 x 100 Gigabit Ethernet switches that are based on its technology Tofino, with the OCP ecosystem.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Barefoot and Netronome Demo DevOps Approach for NFV

Barefoot Networks, creator of Tofino, claimed to be the fastest available 6.5 Tbit/s Ethernet switch chip, and Netronome, a provider of intelligent networking solutions, have demonstrated a solution combining the Agilio CX SmartNIC platform with Barefoot's Tofino P4-programmable switch to deliver precise, real-time network telemetry information for detecting and resolving service quality and connectivity issues.

The joint Barefoot-Netronome solution demonstrates how DevOps can be used to triangulate performance issues to VMs and NICs in servers or network switches, making it possible to instantly detect low-performing virtual network functions (VNFs) in service chains and then correct them.

The companies noted that new applications and services in future 5G mobile networks will require network elements in the telco data centre to support those applications and the zettabytes of data that they generate or consume. These applications and services require efficient coordination of data centre resources among network infrastructure, servers, NICs and VMs running VNFs in the data centre.

However, current solutions are unable to triangulate performance issues to VMs, NICs or network switches, making it difficult or impossible to effectively implement SLAs across the network infrastructure. The programmable high-performance switches from Barefoot and SmartNICs from Netronome allow precise triangulation of performance issues to VMs, NICs and switches, so that operators can accurately quantify performance degradation and identify affected network slices, applications, and flows.

Launched in mid-2016, Barefoot Networks' Tofino Ethernet switch ASICs and Capilano software development environment (SDE) are designed to enable full network programmability by opening the forwarding plane, enabling granular control down to the packets flowing on the wire. The first Tofino chips were delivered to customers in the fourth quarter 2016.

Netronome's Agilio CX 10, 25 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet SmartNIC platforms serve to transparently offload virtual switch and router datapath processing for networking functions such as overlays, security, load balancing and telemetry, enabling compute servers used for server-based networking and cloud computing to reserve CPU cores for application processing and deliver higher performance. The programmable Agilio CX platform is designed for general-purpose x86 COTS rack servers to meet operating system, power and form factor requirements.

At MWC 2017, Barefoot and Netronome are demonstrating in-band network telemetry (INT) implemented utilising P4 in SmartNICs and network switches to locate latency degradation caused by service-chained VNFs and generate triggers that can be used to automatically launch new VNFs or move VNFs to servers with more resources.

The demonstration shows how vendor-agnostic, open source P4 programs can be used across programmable NICs and switches, and how DevOps teams can extend INT on the SmartNIC or network switch to collect additional metadata or perform new actions.

https://www.barefootnetworks.com/
http://www.netronome.com

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Barefoot Networks Appoints Craig Barratt as CEO

Barefoot Networks, a start-up developing next gen Ethernet switching silicon, named Craig Barratt as President and Chief Executive Officer.  Barratt joins Barefoot from Alphabet and Google, where he was Senior Vice President at Google and Chief Executive Officer of Alphabet’s Access business, which includes the Google Fiber broadband internet service.

Prior to Google, he served as President of Qualcomm Atheros, Inc. following the acquisition of Atheros Communications by Qualcomm.  From 2003, he was President and CEO of Atheros. He led the company through its 2004 IPO and growth to more than $900 million in revenue in 2010 and the $3.6 billion acquisition by Qualcomm in 2011.

“We’re fortunate to have attracted an executive of Craig’s extraordinary pedigree to guide Barefoot’s growth,” said Nick McKeown, Chief Scientist, Chairman and Co-Founder at Barefoot.  “At Atheros, Qualcomm and Google, Craig built businesses of great and lasting value, and executed impressively to accelerate growth and diversification.   With interest growing quickly in Barefoot’s programmable switches, Craig will help us build on our strong lead in transforming how networks are built.”

http://www.barefootnetworks.com

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Barefoot Contributes Wedge 100B Switch Designs to OCP

Barefoot Networks unveiled two Wedge 100B switch designs based on its Tofino 6.5 Tb/s Ethernet switch chip: Wedge100BF-32X, a 3.2Tb/s 1RU 32x100GE switch and Wedge100BF-65X, a 6.5Tb/s 2RU 65x100GE switch.

The Wedge 100B switches support FBOSS, SONiC and several other switch operating systems, and can be controlled by the OCP's Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI) API, switchAPI (an extensible, open API) or APIs designed by the user. The default "switch.p4" program running on Tofino turns the Wedge 100B switches into a top-of-rack switch, with all the standard features expected in a data center. Users may add or remove features as they choose, add new protocols, change table sizes, give greater visibility and fold in middlebox functions, such as Layer-4 load-balancing. The Wedge 100B platforms also introduce several enhancements, including an optimized power supply unit, lower cost PCB design, improved Design For Manufacturability, beefier CPU module, etc. The switches run an updated version of OpenBMC.

"The Open Compute Networking Project is excited to see Barefoot Networks share two Wedge 100B hardware designs with the community," said Omar Baldonado, OCP Networking Project Co-Lead. "We look forward to seeing the new innovations enabled by these Wedge 100B designs and the flexibility that their programmable switching silicon brings to the industry."

"Barefoot Networks is delighted to share its Tofino based Wedge 100B switch designs with the Open Compute Project community," said Martin Izzard, Co-Founder & CEO, Barefoot Networks. "With Wedge 100B platforms, the OCP ecosystem, network owners and architects have unprecedented access to a fully disaggregated networking stack down to the forwarding plane, enabling them to build networks that best suit their needs."

http://www.barefootnetworks.com

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Barefoot Attracts $23M in New Funding, including from Alibaba and Tencent

Barefoot Networks, a start-up developing user-programmable switching chips, announced $23 million in additional Series C funding, bringing total Series C investment to $80 million and total investment in Barefoot to over $150 million. The new funding was led by Alibaba and Tencent. Barefoot also confirmed that its Tofino chip is on track for delivery to customers at the end of Q4 2016.

 "Tencent is delighted to join hands with Barefoot as it goes to market with technology destined to make profound advancements in the ways networks are designed, built and run," said Tom Bie, VP of Technology and Engineering Group, Tencent, a leading provider of Internet value-added services in China. "

Barefoot gives network operators the ultimate freedom to create the network they want, rather than designing around limitations of available technology. We're excited to see innovation of this scope come to the market." "Barefoot's unveiling of Tofino in June signaled the beginning of the end for the 'fixed-function' switching chips that have dominated the networking landscape since their introduction in the '90s," said Martin Izzard, CEO and co-founder, Barefoot Networks. "Venture firms, network operators and networking equipment leaders alike seized on this breakthrough, and their support of Barefoot has been unprecedented. We're extremely gratified to be working with communications companies with the scope, reach and reputation of Alibaba and Tencent." http://www.barefootnetworks.com

Barefoot Unveils 6.5 Tbps Tofino Switching Chip

Barefoot Networks, a start-up based in Palo Alto, California emerged from stealth to unveil its "Tofino" switching chip and announce that it has raised $130 million, including a strategic investment from Google.

Dubbed "the fast switch every built", Barefoot’s programmable Tofino switch chip processes packets at 6.5 terabits per second, twice as fast as the previous record holder. While conventional programmable network devices such as NPUs have orders of magnitude slower than their fixed-function brethren, Barefoot said its Tofino silicon provides the first programmable forwarding plane while setting a new performance benchmark for performance, power, and price.

The silicon 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 the open-source P4 language provides software developers with the compilers, tools, and applications they need to successfully program the fastest networking gear. This could eliminate "middle boxes" that add latency, complexity and cost to a data center network. Barefoot’s new compiler technology has taken P4 programs – written by customers – and converted them into blazing-fast running code executed on Tofino.  Barefoot will open an ecosystem of compilers, tools and P4 code to make P4 accessible.

Barefoot Networks also disclosed that it has recently closed a $57 million funding round led by Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments and Google Inc. This brings total funding to more than $130 million to date.

“The basic fixed-function switch architecture was set in 1996 and has remained unchanged for twenty years,” noted Nick McKeown, co-founder and chief scientist at Barefoot Networks. “Yet everything else in the data center changed. We went from monolithic software to VM’s and then to containers and fully distributed applications. With the rise of the cloud, data center traffic patterns changed as did the role of the data center. How could a 1996 switching architecture be the right foundation for 2016’s applications? In all other parts of the data center we have moved to programmability. Tofino enables this move for networking. It empowers network owners and their infrastructure partners to design, optimize and innovate to their specific requirements.”

"Mega-scale data center operators greatly benefit from building their own networking equipment and writing the software that runs on it. The forwarding plane, though, has been off-limits to programmers because of the rigid nature of high-performance switching solutions,” noted Martin Izzard, co-founder and CEO, Barefoot Networks.  “With P4 and Barefoot, the landscape is changing; users can develop the P4 programs to define the innovative forwarding plane behavior, introducing new ways to monitor and analyze network traffic, making networks more reliable, scalable, efficient and secure."

http://www.barefootnetworks.com


  • 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.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Barefoot Unveils 6.5 Tbps Tofino Switching Chip

Barefoot Networks, a start-up based in Palo Alto, California emerged from stealth to unveil its "Tofino" switching chip and announce that it has raised $130 million, including a strategic investment from Google.

Dubbed "the fast switch every built", Barefoot’s programmable Tofino switch chip processes packets at 6.5 terabits per second, twice as fast as the previous record holder. While conventional programmable network devices such as NPUs have orders of magnitude slower than their fixed-function brethren, Barefoot said its Tofino silicon provides the first programmable forwarding plane while setting a new performance benchmark for performance, power, and price.

The silicon 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 the open-source P4 language provides software developers with the compilers, tools, and applications they need to successfully program the fastest networking gear. This could eliminate "middle boxes" that add latency, complexity and cost to a data center network. Barefoot’s new compiler technology has taken P4 programs – written by customers – and converted them into blazing-fast running code executed on Tofino.  Barefoot will open an ecosystem of compilers, tools and P4 code to make P4 accessible.

Barefoot Networks also disclosed that it has recently closed a $57 million funding round led by Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments and Google Inc. This brings total funding to more than $130 million to date.

“The basic fixed-function switch architecture was set in 1996 and has remained unchanged for twenty years,” noted Nick McKeown, co-founder and chief scientist at Barefoot Networks. “Yet everything else in the data center changed. We went from monolithic software to VM’s and then to containers and fully distributed applications. With the rise of the cloud, data center traffic patterns changed as did the role of the data center. How could a 1996 switching architecture be the right foundation for 2016’s applications? In all other parts of the data center we have moved to programmability. Tofino enables this move for networking. It empowers network owners and their infrastructure partners to design, optimize and innovate to their specific requirements.”

"Mega-scale data center operators greatly benefit from building their own networking equipment and writing the software that runs on it. The forwarding plane, though, has been off-limits to programmers because of the rigid nature of high-performance switching solutions,” noted Martin Izzard, co-founder and CEO, Barefoot Networks.  “With P4 and Barefoot, the landscape is changing; users can develop the P4 programs to define the innovative forwarding plane behavior, introducing new ways to monitor and analyze network traffic, making networks more reliable, scalable, efficient and secure."

http://www.barefootnetworks.com


  • 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.

See also