Increased programmability brings more options to networks

Increased programmability brings more options to networks

Options. Everyone needs options. Whenever I travel somewhere with my wife, Christine, even if it’s for a weekend, she needs to check a bag. When I ask her why, she says, “A girl needs options,” hence the oversize luggage.

While it’s been easy for someone like my wife to have options, network engineers have never really had the same luxury. Network switches were typically built with fixed functionality, so an organization would need to purchase a wide range of equipment to meet all their needs. 

Network professionals need greater flexibility from the network

Recently, the chip manufacturers have been building more programmable, flexible products. One of the examples of this is the Cavium XPliant processor that is the silicon that powers Arista’s 7160 switch. Another example is the Barefoot Networks Tofino processor. In addition to being one of the most scenic places on the planet, Tofino is a powerful system on a chip with a fully programmable parser and pipeline. The chip supports 256x 25 Gig-E Serializer/Deserializer (SerDes) at speeds of 1, 10, 25, 40, 50, and 100 Gig-E.

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