Technology

At Barefoot Networks, we have created technology that lifts the logic and algorithms for forwarding plane from hardware into software and we have achieved this while delivering screaming fast performance. This is a major breakthrough for the networking industry, which has been held hostage by fixed-function forwarding planes for the past 20 years.

  • Programmability and performance have been delivered without compromise in other technology domains like compute, graphics, signal processing, and recently in machine learning and artificial intelligence.

    The networking domain has lacked the combination the three elements to the right until we launched Tofino, which is based on the Protocol Independent Switch Architecture (PISA) and can be programmed using P4.

    The model through which this uncompromised programmability has been delivered consists of three elements:

    • An open source, high-level and domain-specific programming language
    • A powerful compiler
    • A high-performance target device / architecture
Figure 1

Now the field of networking joins these other areas of technology, that have long been delivering unprecedented performance and user programmability, while enabling fast innovation. We use P4, the de-facto standard programming language for networking, maintained by a thriving and growing P4.org community. P4 is easy to learn and intuitive, enabling software engineers to define forwarding plane functionality in minutes. With the Capilano Software Development Environment (SDE) P4 compiler tool chain that is provided along with Tofino, users can now compile their P4 programs and run them at line rate up to speeds of 6.5Tb/s.

Figure 2

The possibilities are endless! Our customers use P4, our compiler and Tofino to create a wide variety of networking functions, something that is impossible with fixed-function solutions in the market today.

We can now finally say “Software is eating the network”.