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2021.08.30

Silicon innovation in programmable switch hardware

Network switches have evolved from a fixed function to fully configurable hardware. Broadcom has a long history of supporting programmable switches in the DNX product line with the latest Jericho 2 Packet Processor, a fully featured 10TB router dedicated to the router market. In 2019, Broadcom introduced and tested Trident 4, a 12.8 Tbps programmable switch for the enterprise data center and campus markets. The announcement of Trident 4 was accompanied by the release of the Network Programming Language, an open language developed for programming the data plane of next-generation switches.

Leveraging innovative hardware and language architecture

The NPL language (See the blog post on the Avago Technologies (Broadcom) official website for a full overview) was designed primarily to best express the capabilities of underlying silicon and provide scalability. Designing a switch that can feature capacity and parallelism while still being programmable requires fundamental silicon innovation to create efficient hardware.

An efficient hardware architecture is a key factor in maximizing the potential of any technology node. The principles of effective hardware architecture cover area, peak power, medium power, low latency, and features. Through programmability, end customers can maximize the benefits of efficient hardware, depending on the use case. While programmability allows for new and customizable features, it can be used to manage basic power and latency requirements. NPL provides the ability to meet all aspects of customer needs.

An effective hardware architecture includes many dimensions. The main components are flexible storage and flexible handling. Flexible storage allows users to store different databases, perform flexible searches, and interpret results in different ways. Flexible storage needs to be optimized for different protocols using innovative memory technologies to reduce power consumption for search and compare operations.

Flexible processing allows users to perform complex operations, deeply nested conditions and comparisons at linear speed. Flexible machining, if implemented in a flat design, can take up a lot of space and energy. Innovative methods of creating a reusable structure in a cycle will allow you to place more functions in a smaller area.

Programmable drivers on the official Avago Technologies website

Programmable micromotors are add-ons for accelerating network applications. They provide low latency scaling. Micromotors can save the state of each package and make decisions at linear speed. Dynamic Load Balancing Micromotors, ECMP, WCMP help users achieve large scale with minimal power consumption and latency. Programmable hashing with selectable input, selectable hash functions, flexible interpretation of hash output is another key feature required for networked applications.

Efficient hardware must be able to perform parallel processing to reduce latency and power. A thread must be able to access resources in parallel in the case of a logical mutex. Early processing of results reduces waiting times and reduces energy consumption.

Algorithmic processing is another important principle for achieving much higher scales. They can be applied to searches or ACLs. Multistage algorithmic processing offers the advantage of consistency and can significantly reduce energy and resource requirements.

Both Jericho 2 and Trident 4 include many revolutionary silicon innovations that allow multiple concurrent functions with programmability, deep scalability, and deep buffer. Programmability does not affect buffer or seek size. All parallel functions run at line speed. Jericho 2 and Trident 4 have more than double the tunnel scale, forwarding database, and ACLs, with half the power per 100 Gbps port of the previous generation. The Trident 4 delay can be optimally adjusted for different NPL profiles.

Thus, Broadcom Jericho 2 and Trident 4 network switches implement all the hardware capabilities mentioned above. Between Jericho 2 and Trident 4, Broadcom successfully provides peer-to-peer router, core router, ToR, aggregation and gateway profiles with minimal power consumption and latency.

Buy Avago Technologies

Megatronicka offers a huge range of high bandwidth network switches from Avago Technologies (Broadcom). All goods have a full guarantee from the manufacturer. Delivery is carried out within the territory of the  CIS countries.

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