AMD Demonstrates ARM-Based NFV Solution Using Hierofalcon SoC

Subject: General Tech, Networking | October 11, 2014 - 01:42 AM |
Tagged: sdn, nfv, networking, Hierofalcon, arm, amd

AMD, in cooperation with Aricent and Mentor Graphics, recently demonstrated the first ARM-based Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) solution at ARM TechCon. The demonstration employed AMD's Embedded R-Series "Hierofalcon" SoC virtualizing a Mobile Packet Core running subscriber calls. The 64-bit ARM chip is now sampling to customers and will be generally available in the first half of next year (1H 2015). The AMD NFV Reference Solution is aimed at telecoms for use in communications network backbones where AMD believes an ARM solution will offer reduced costs (both initial and operational) and increased network bandwidth.

AMD ARM-Based Hierofalcon 64-bit SOC.jpg

The NFV demonstration of the Mobile Packet Core entailed virtualizing a Packet Data Network Gateway, Serving Gateway, Mobility Management Entity, and virtualized Wireless Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) applications. AMD further demonstrated live traffic migration between ARM-based Embedded-R and x86-based second generation R-Series APU solutions. NFV is related to, but independent of, software defined networking (SDN). Network Functions Virtualization is essentially the virtualizing of network appliances with specific functions and performing those functions virtually using generic servers. For example, NFV can virtualize firewalls, gateways, load balancers, intrusion detection, DNS, NAT, and caching functions. NFV virtualizes the upper networking layers (layers 4-7) and can allow virtual tunnels through a network that can then be assigned functions (such as those listed above) on a per-VM or per flow basis. NFV eliminates the need for specialized hardware appliances by virtualizing these functions on generic servers which have traditionally been exclusively x86 based. AMD is hoping to push ARM (and it's own ARM-based SoCs) into this market by touting even further capital expenditure and operational costs versus x86 (and, in turn, versus specialized hardware that serves the entire network whereas NFV can be more exactly provisioned).

It is an interesting take on a lucrative networking market which is dealing with 1.4 Zetabytes of global IP traffic per year. I'm interested to see if the telecoms and other enterprise network customers will bite and give AMD a slice of this pie on the low end and low power fronts.

AMD "Hierofalcon" Embedded R Series SoC

Hierofalcon is the code name for AMD's 64-bit SoC with ARM CPU cores intended for the embedded market. The SoC is a 15W to 30W chip featuring up to eight ARM Cortex-A57 CPU cores capable of hitting 2GHz, two 64-bit ECC capable DDR3 or DDR4 memory channels, 10Gb Ethernet, PCI-E 3.0, ARM TrustZone, and a cryptographic security co-processor.The TechCon demonstration was also used to launch the AMD NFV Reference Solution which is compliant with OpenDataPlane platform. The reference platform includes a networking software stack from Aricent and an Embedded Linux OS and software tools (Sourcery CodeBench) from Mentor Graphics. The OpenDataPlane demonstration featured the above mentioned Evolved Packet Core application on the Hierofalcon 64-bit ARM SoC. Additionally, the x86-based R-Series APU, OpenStack, and Data Plane Development Kit all make up the company's NFV reference solution. 

Source: AMD

Intel and Vint Cerf are both talking up SDN

Subject: General Tech | April 18, 2013 - 12:35 PM |
Tagged: vint cerf, Intel, sdn, software defined networking, tha internets, open network summit, Seacliff Trail

Vint Cerf has been talking about the current topic on the minds of many network admins, software defined networking, sometimes referred to as smart networks.  While his original design was great at providing much cheaper connectivity than telcos, with the entire network being effectively dumb and not requiring any expensive routing equipment during transfer, that benefit is no longer as compelling as it used to be.  Moving from a model of only having routing equipment at the very edge of your network to placing equipment en route can offer advantages to security, speed and reliability.  He is quick to bring up a topic that is near and dear to anyone working in infrastructure; no matter how smart the equipment is, if there are no established standards which can operate between vendors and protocols then we will be worse off than we are now.

One company that has the power to bring SDN to the market and do so with enough backing to create standards and enforce them is Intel.  They are also at the Open Network Summit and are presenting their plans for SDN, virtual switches and even physical hardware.  Over at The Register you can see some of the slides that they presented along with information on new chipsets and ASICs that have been developed by Intel for use in a variety of networking applications.

elreg_intel_ons_iceberg.jpg

"As you get to the point where you want to have something big happen, spend some time working on getting agreement on standards,” Cerf is quoted as saying. Standards encourage innovation because everyone can work to the standard, as “happened in the creation of the Internet—and these standards often create a certain amount of stability.

“Stability is your friend in networking environments. If you can’t rely on some stable point in the architecture, you’ll have some trouble in making things work reliably."

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Source: The Register