Switchdev Development and Implementation

Why Switchdev?

Switchdev is a Linux kernel driver that enables the control of switching silicons (ASICs) on a kernel level, using standard open Linux interfaces. Switchdev implementation helps break the vendor lock-in of proprietary SDKs (Software Development Kits), eliminating the dependency on vendor-specific APIs in order to manage network hardware.  

The implementation of this open source framework supports the concept of disaggregation and open networking. This means, if the Switchdev driver is available from the ASIC vendor, end users can deploy a NOS of their choice on their network hardware. It also simplifies the integration, setup and support of new devices through interface unification, and eliminates the need for additional re-training of personnel with each new product.

How can network businesses benefit?

Switching silicon (ASIC) vendors

Switch silicon vendors are striving to reach a new white box market and extend it with the segments of mid- and low-end commodity switching and routing, including: 

  • Remote Office Branch Office (ROBO)  
  • Small Office Home Office (SOHO)  
  • SMB (Small Medium Business)

To succeed in these markets, enabling cost efficiency throughout the supply chain is crucial. Offering designs and solutions that use Switchdev for network control, automatically puts an ASIC brand on a vendor list for companies who prefer open infrastructure solutions – OCP, Linux Foundation, and other similar ecosystems.  

How we can help:

  • Switchdev driver development for switching silicon (ASIC) 
  • Testing and upstream of Switchdev driver for your network ASIC to Linux kernel

OEMs/ODMs

For switch or router vendors, Switchdev means the elimination of licensing costs related to the use of proprietary NOSes and simplified integration of their devices with new merchant silicons. As a result,  cost-efficiency improves for their product.

Switchdev-powered NOS is also more lightweight in comparison to SONiC, which requires specific expertise for integration and enhancement. Switchdev secures Linux-native environment, familiar tools, configuration and administration methods for both developers and end users.  

Overall, Switchdev-based NOS is a strong alternative for white-box products. Linux has a smaller footprint and does not require a powerful CPU to run. This makes your Switchdev-enabled product more attractive to traditional, price-sensitive markets like ROBO, SOHO, SMB.

How we can help:

  • Introduce Switchdev support for your network equipment 
  • Extend the set of Linux network applications on top of Switchdev 
  • Platform bring-up, product quality assurance, resolving integration issues  
  • Maintain, sustain and support your product, keep up with Linux kernel updates 
  • Upstream product-specific code (BSP, platform code, bootloaders) to Linux kernel

SmartNIC vendors

In order for SmartNIC vendors to enable their product for consumption in modern network environments and extend their offer to Telco and enterprise data centers, their product should be integrated with a network management or orchestration system (e.g. OpenStack, Kubernetes, xCloud). Switchdev is used as an open Linux-native interface to control network hardware and eliminate licensing fees. 

To configure the communication between physical and virtual ports in the server, Switchdev enables control of the server-side networking.  At the same time, Switchdev provides transparent network acceleration by offloading the packet processing to hardware (NIC).

How we can help:

  • Switchdev driver implementation for your SmartNIC (based on network processor, FPGA or multicore CPU)
  • Testing and upstream of Switchdev driver for your NIC to Linux kernel

PLVision as Your Global Guide to Switchdev Success

  • Well-positioned service vendor with a wealth of Linux kernel development credentials, specifically in network drivers and applications 
  • Solid experience of collaboration with open source communities (including Linux kernel netdev, promoting Switchdev) 
  • Strong background in low-level networking and embedded software development: experience working with SDK of 5 merchant switch silicons 
  • Versatile NOS development expertise which closes gaps in developing a fresh open NOS for Linux environment

Discuss your needs with our expert

Learn how you can unleash the power of Linux for Switchdev-enablement of your network product.

Consultant:

Leonid Khedyk

Chief Technology Officer

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