Over the past two decades, we have a wide range of innovation in the devices we use to access the network, the applications and services we depend on to run our digital lives, and the computing and storage solutions we rely on to hold all that “big data” for us. However, the underlying network that connects all of these things has remained virtually unchanged. The reality is the demands of the exploding number of people and devices using the network are stretching its limits. The networking world is undergoing a significant shift, moving from embedded systems to more open, virtualized systems based on common, standardized software stacks. Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV) and network virtualization (NV) offer new ways of designing, building and operating networks.
The introduction of SDN is also being promoted by the growing relevance of the Internet-of-Things (IoT), which will dramatically increase the number of network endpoints, while adding a huge amount of data that needs to be transferred in a secure manner. NFV further simplifies the deployment and management of such large number of endpoints, helping providers to cope with the increased needs of performance whilst reducing costs. NFV also brings more agile, serviceable networks to fruition by virtualizing entire parts of the network. It is a multi-year evolution that is truly reshaping the industry.
Earlier this month, at ARM TechCon 2014, the Linux Foundation made an announcement about the formation of a new project named Open Platform for NFV. OPNFV will be a carrier-grade, integrated, open source reference platform intended to accelerate the introduction of Network Functions Virtualization platforms and architecture. ARM is a founding member of the OPNFV group. ARM has also been at the center of NFV definition activity through our work with standards bodies and with partners. The OPNFV project is the next step in advancing NFV with a common software base: bringing together multiple open source software blocks, integrating, testing, optimizing and also filling in gaps. OPNFV is expected to increase performance and power efficiency; improve reliability, availability and serviceability; and deliver comprehensive platform instrumentation.
If we look now at the hardware platform, specifically an SoC we can see there are four classes of compute required in infrastructure:
• Control plane processing which requires high compute performance
• MAC scheduling which requires low latency
• Data plane processing which benefits from high efficiency small cores
• Specialized processing including accelerators and DSPs
These are just a few examples of the types of challenges we will discuss in more detail at the upcoming Linley Networking conference on the 22nd of October, 2014. Ian Forsyth, Director of Infrastructure Product Marketing at ARM will take to the stage to highlight the role that ARM CoreLink™ Cache Coherent Network products play, offering high bandwidth, low latency connectivity and highly integrated solutions for the new deployments of NFV and SDN. The key here is the scalability offered by these interconnect solutions that help address intelligence at the network edge. His talk will further detail how the power-efficient yet high performance ARM architecture delivers benefits for networking infrastructure and high core-count solutions in servers.
Look out for further ARM blogs and news around the event.
- Linley Processor Conference: www.linleygroup.com/processor-conference
- How cache coherent interconnects work: Extended System Coherency - Part 1 - Cache Coherency Fundamentals
- Ian Forsyth's blogs on Cache Coherent Network products: Coherent Interconnect Technology Supports Exponential Data Flow Growth