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Barefoot Networks Unveils Tofino 2

December 54, 2018

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

The 6.5Tb/s Tofino ASIC demonstrated that a P4-programmable switch chip could match the power, performance, and cost of legacy fixed-function devices while making it possible for the first time for end-customers to define any network behavior they want in their network. Tofino established it was possible, now Tofino 2 takes high performance and programmability to the next level. Processing packets at 12.8 Tb/s in 7nm process technology, Tofino 2 delivers double the performance while maintaining full P4-programmability, making it the best choice for meeting the needs of hyperscale data centers, cloud, enterprise and service provider networks. Tofino 2 and Tofino also remain the world’s only fully programmable switching chips, allowing network architects to replace legacy fixed-function switches with P4-programmable switches.

Why are programmable switches taking off now? Cloud providers are building networks of unprecedented scale, both in terms of capacity and the management challenge of keeping them reliable and secure. Networks, therefore, need to evolve much more rapidly than before, with new features being introduced regularly; it is not surprising that almost every big data center is testing new—often proprietary—features in their network for routing, tunneling, telemetry, load-balancing and more. While legacy switches take years to evolve, a P4-programmable switch can be enhanced with new features in a matter of hours, leading to a burgeoning set of new applications. To-date, Barefoot has enabled more than 100 new features and applications deployed, in support of improved reliability, visibility, security, artificial intelligence and machine learning workloads, and network storage.

Tofino 2 delivers significant benefits to infrastructure builders and solution providers:

World’s first 7nm switch ASIC bringing the advantages of P4 programmability to hyperscale data centers needing 400G Ethernet (400GE) by delivering 32x400GE on a single chip.

Delivers orders-of-magnitude power and latency savings by supporting industry highest radix with up to 256x10/25/50GE ports on a single chip.

Because Tofino 2 is fully P4-programmable, it can be deployed in many ways, from a standard top-of-rack switch to a service provider router, or even a feature-rich switch appliance. It can support enormous, 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. Provides ground-truth of all network activity, accelerating the time to find the root cause of network outages.

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.”

“What’s powerful about Barefoot’s approach to networking is the fact that their Tofino Ethernet switch ASICs have a fully P4-programmable pipeline. What this means to us is this - the freedom to create network nodes that can perform precise functions that will exponentially increase application performance and visibility. Barefoot Tofino 2 switch silicon builds on its predecessor, the Tofino series, that is field proven. While the ability to derive efficiencies from 400GE deployments is a necessity, it is more important for us to be able to fine-tune the switch pipeline to create functionality that better serves our customers.”—Josh Matheus, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs

“Cisco is at the forefront of innovation by creating best-of-breed solutions to meet and exceed the growing needs of its customers. Customers continue to demand higher speeds, feeds and intelligence in their networks. Barefoot Tofino does not only let us deliver solutions that do table stakes but will also let us solve complex new challenges faced by our customers. We’ve already leveraged Tofino and the P4 programming language to bring new, differentiated products to market. I look forward to seeing Tofino 2 bring P4 programming capabilities to the emerging 400G Ethernet market in 2019.”—Tom Edsall, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for the Data Center Networking Group at Cisco Systems

“Alibaba has a great relationship with Barefoot; their first generation P4-programmable switch silicon provides the customization capability to enable our network infrastructure to better deliver applications for our users. We will continue to explore leveraging their new generation programmable switch silicon for more efficiency and visibility.”—Dennis Cai, Chief Architect of Network Infrastructure under Alibaba Infrastructure Services.

“At Tencent, it is critical for our network to be capable of supporting a wide variety of applications and services. The network has to be scalable and resilient which requires switches that can be defined from the forwarding plane up. Barefoot’s P4-programmable Ethernet switch ASICs deliver just that. We can create switching solutions that perform standard features and any unique feature we want. The programmability of the forwarding plane helps deliver better scale, visibility and enables us to derive significant value from the network. Barefoot’s Tofino 2 series of switches will help us migrate to the next speed step of 400GE without losing the benefits of P4-programmability which we take advantage of today.”—Wade Shao, Director, Network Platform Department, Tencent

“The ability to define what the forwarding plane of a switch can do is quite attractive to us as it enables us to lay a future-proof foundation for our super cloud infrastructure. Barefoot’s technology is revolutionary in that it allows network builders and owners like us to create a network that suits and exceeds our needs. The P4-programmable Barefoot Tofino 2 chipset will help us handle higher data rates up to 400GE while continuing to reap the benefits of programmability which include full and real-time visibility into the network.”—Fu Qingming, Group Vice President, Infrastructure R&D, JD Cloud

"UCloud's infrastructure is uniquely capable of taking advantage of network programmability. With P4 and Barefoot Tofino, we've been able to achieve breakthrough performance, scale and visibility in the network to address the growing needs of the compute and storage systems. We have built excellent solutions using Tofino that are used in our network today and we are excited for the launch of Tofino 2 as we look forward to deploying 400GE in the near future.”—Wang Kai, General Manager, Operations and Maintenance Platform, UCloud

“The increasing adoption of AI and machine learning is generating a fundamentally different type of application traffic in the network, which requires different network architectures. Furthermore, new traffic from AI can be very unpredictable and come with significantly higher bandwidth requirements. 100Gbit/s server access ports and 400Gbit/s will become the norm in the aggregation/core, and 12.8Tb/s switching chips will become the next standard. Barefoot's Tofino proved that performance and programmability can be delivered without compromise and now its launch of Tofino 2 delivers breakthrough speed while keeping P4-programmability which will usher in scores of new network applications.”—Alan Weckel, Founder and Technology Analyst at 650 Group

“The rise of domain-specific architectures and languages has solved critical scalability and efficiency issues in the fields of signal processing, graphics, and storage. Barefoot’s Tofino family of programmable switch chips has ushered in the benefits of domain-specific architectures and languages to the networking industry with PISA and P4. Tofino has proven it offers better performance and lower power than comparable fixed-function silicon, thereby providing the power of programmability without a performance penalty. Tofino 2 promises to deliver these benefits for 400G Ethernet using a modular chip architecture, bringing efficiencies in power and price.”—Bob Wheeler, Principal Analyst, The Linley Group

“400Gbps Ethernet is expected to become the norm in hyperscale cloud networks and data centers by 2022—driven by the need for geometric bandwidth increases to support artificial intelligence, machine learning, distributed flash storage, and server-less computing,” said Craig Barratt, CEO of Barefoot Networks. “With today’s announcement, Barefoot once again demonstrates that it is keeping ahead of the demand curve by providing the technologies and tools that network architects need to reshape cloud, enterprise, and public networks.”

P4 Programmability
With P4 data plane programmability, network owners and infrastructure partners can implement a new class of high-performance data-plane applications and deploy them immediately on Tofino. Barefoot’s customers can choose to create their own features, by writing applications from scratch in P4, then compiling to run on Tofino. Or they can use a pre-built program, like switch.p4, which is supplied and supported by Barefoot.

Barefoot P4 Studio™ is a suite of software development tools enabling customers to author their own features in P4 for Tofino. Enterprises, hyperscale data centers, telco, and wireless providers can introduce new functions and features without compromising performance. In so doing, they create a competitive advantage unmatched by solutions based on fixed-function silicon.

P4 and Barefoot’s P4-programmable Tofino switch silicon family has unleashed a Cambrian explosion of new and innovative network features and applications. Programming the network is becoming as easy as programming a computer.

Availability
Barefoot P4 Studio Software Development Environment (SDE) with support for Tofino 2 switch series is available now to customers worldwide allowing them to start designing and developing their data plane and control plane software ready. The Barefoot Tofino 2 switch ASICs will sample to customers in 1H of 2019.

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