PROGRAMMABLE FORWARDING PLANES FOR THE INTELLIGENT EDGE
NoviFlow switches implement the next generation networking technology – a programmable forwarding plane with match+action rules in a fully programmable pipeline. This new networking paradigm has huge implications for implementing network intelligence where it can do the most work: at the ingress and egress points. It enables network policy enforcement, resource optimization and cybersecurity to be injected right into the network fabric.
THE INEXORABLE RISE OF EAST-WEST TRAFFIC
The modern Data Center is no longer a monolithic entity whose architecture can be optimized for only a few specific applications. With the arrival of the cloud computing and ubiquitous mobile devices, the types of services offered increasingly rely on a huge variety of business processes provided as services by other networks, many of which are distributed across multiple domains. Hence, the percentage of data center traffic going ‘east-west’ within and between data centers has risen to over 80% of the total.
To facilitate these types of connections, network operators utilize a variety of tunneling and label/tag switching strategies such as VLANs and MPLS. Existing network solutions were never intended to deal with the scale of traffic and the numbers of connections generated by the arrival of virtualization and cloud-based services, and these limitations have become a major headache for most network and data center providers. SDN and OpenFlow provide an elegant way of dealing with these limitations by using the matching and flow redirection capabilities of OpenFlow switches to pre-digest network traffic at the edge of the network, minimizing its impact on limited resources such as core network capacity and expensive network appliances.
THE NOVISWITCH DIFFERENCE
Unlike legacy network equipment, NoviFlow’s NoviSwitches have architected from the ground-up to deliver a networking fabric optimized for implementing programmable forwarding planes: very large table sizes, multiple tables, packet payload matching and traffic handling at line rate for even hyperscale networks.
Most network gateway products are based on switching ASICs or Intel x86 processors running software-based packet processing. ASICs provides throughput at the cost of very limited programmability and supporting only very basic features of SDN. X86 processors are highly programmable, but with significantly reduced throughput, especially for the more complex packet processing required to implement real SDN.
Instead of these technologies, NoviSwitches uses Network Processors (NPUs), which provide both high throughput and full programmability. When combined with NoviFlow’s NoviWare NOS, NoviSwitch provides a silicon based forwarding plane that is 2 to 3 orders of magnitude faster than x86 processors, yet can deliver the fully programmable packet pipeline needed to provide both the agility and scalability required by today’s networks.