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We have previously discussed the P4 language, the concept of a P4 programmable switch, and its application scenarios. Today, we are delighted to inform you about the progress of our P4-programmable switch. Asterfusion has recently unveiled a cutting-edge 12.8 Tb/s P4-programmable open network switch based on Intel Tofino 2. Therefore, let’s delve into what makes a programmable switch so essential and explore the reasons behind our fervent need for it.
Why P4 programmable switch?
With the increasing use of cloud applications, services, and video, the amount of data being processed is enormous. Data centers are the backbone of all this data traffic. Operators are now looking for programmable switches that offer more flexibility in managing the data center compared to traditional fixed-function switches. Programmable switch ASICs not only allow for customizing the switch’s behavior but also enable scalability to handle the unique characteristics of the data center.
Advantages of P4 Programmable Switch
- Flexibility: Programmable ASICs and switches offer the ability to customize and fine-tune the processing and forwarding of packets. Their programmable nature allows developers to adapt and optimize their functionality to specific use cases and network requirements.
- Protocol Independence: Programmable ASICs, such as Intel Tofino, utilize programming languages like P4 (Programming Protocol-independent Packet Processors) to determine how the forwarding plane processes packets. This protocol independence allows for greater flexibility in handling new protocols and adapting to evolving network needs.
- Efficiency and Performance: Programmable ASICs can be specifically designed to perform tasks more efficiently than general-purpose processors. By optimizing the hardware for a particular application, programmable ASICs can achieve higher performance and lower latency compared to software-based solutions.
- Scalability: Programmable switches, powered by programmable ASICs, offer scalability advantages. These switches can be customized to meet specific deployment requirements, enabling efficient scaling of network infrastructure.
- Cost-effectiveness: While ASICs may incur higher upfront design costs compared to FPGAs (Field-Programmable Gate Arrays), they can be more cost-effective in the long run. ASICs allow for the creation of integrated circuits that perform only the required functions, eliminating the need to pay for unnecessary functionality.
- Automation and Simplification: Programmable switches contribute to the development of scalable infrastructure services and leverage the benefits of automation. They facilitate the implementation of advanced network features and simplify network management and configuration.
Asterfusion X732P-T 32* 400G P4 Programmable Switch based on Intel Tofino 2
Asterfusion has introduced the X732P-T, a P4-programmable open network switch capable of handling 12.8 Tb/s throughput. This switch, which utilizes the Intel Tofino 2 chipset, enables network architects to upgrade from fixed-function switches to programmable ones while maintaining a high level of performance. The X732P-T, there are two additional 25G/10G ports going to INT/ or management ports, boasts six redundant, hot swappable fan modules and two AC power supplies, ensuring reliability and scalability for hyperscale, cloud, and service provider environments with increased bandwidth requirements.
Network OS (NOS) – SONiC
The X732P-T is fully compatible with SONiC open-source network software and supports Asterfusion’s own enterprise distribution of SONiC- AsterNOS. Asterfusion offers thoroughly tested and enhanced SONiC-based solutions to ensure that customers can confidently deploy them on our full series of open networking platforms. Each release of AsterNOS is built upon the Community SONiC release and incorporates various fixes, enhancements, and additional new features, guaranteeing a robust and supported branch for deployments.
The Intel® Tofino™ 2 Intelligent Fabric Processor has doubled its switching capacity compared to the first generation and now offers a greater number of packet processing resources to efficiently handle demanding workloads in distributed applications, virtual machine scaling, artificial intelligence, and serverless deployments.
- 32x 400GbE QSFP-DD ports in a single rack unit (RU), perfect for high-density applications
- Up to 258x 25/10G SFP28 ports via break-out cables
- Full P4 programmability with ample support for large table sizes, covering routing, tunnels, and access control lists (ACLs)
- The 12.8T Intel Tofino BFN-T20-128Q featuring quad pipelines and 20 MAU stages
- Capability to handle 6 billion packets per second
- Enhanced match-action unit pipelines and traffic manager, enabling precise control over packets.
Asterfusion X732Q-T can be seamlessly deployed as a leaf switch, providing support for 25/50/100G interfaces to servers or routers while offering 100/400G uplinks. Moreover, it can also be used as a spine switch, facilitating 100/400G leaf and spine interconnects.
The Asterfusion X732Q-T can function as an ultra-high bandwidth packet broker, a reliable load balancer, a robust broadband network gateway, a powerful telemetry tool, or even an advanced analytics engine. With its exceptional capabilities, this switch effortlessly deals with the most demanding workloads in distributed applications.
The switch can also function as
- HPC (High-Performance Computing)
- Network Packet Brokers (NPB)
- Broadband Network Gateways (BNG)
- Load Balancers
- AI and Machine Learning apps
- Real-time telemetry Time-sensitive applications, financial industry, broadcast streaming, 5G networks
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