Category Archives: 30 blogs in 30 days

3.2 Tbps on a single chip – Merchant silicon cranks it up

Recently I stumbled upon the blog of David Gee in the UK. He covered the Cavium acquisition of Xpliant as well as Broadcom’s announcement of the StrataXGS Tomahawk chipset less than two months later. The remarkable thing about both chipsets is that they are both capable of 3.2 Tbps and feature programmability, something which the Trident II (a 1.28 Tbps chipset) didn’t have. The Trident II is used on Cisco’s Nexus 9000, Juniper’s QFX5100, and HP’s 5930, to name a few switches. There had been great anticipation for the Trident II because it contains support for VXLAN, which the Trident did not. However, the most recent tunnel encapsulation protocol, Generic Network Virtualization Encapsulation (GENEVE), isn’t supported on Trident II. Well, with Tomahawk, as well as Xpliant, because of their programmable nature, they should, in theory.

Broadcom’s press announcement page contains an impressive array of quotes from vendors such as Brocade, Big Switch, Cumulus, HP, Juniper, Pica8, and VMware, to name a few. It remains to be seen what vendors will implement Xpliant.


A little background on SocketPlane

Earlier this week, news broke out on SDNCentral about a new startup called SocketPlane that integrates Docker containers with Open vSwitch (OVS). Docker is one of the hottest areas in enterprise tech these days. At the OpenStack SV event last month, Mirantis CEO Adrian Ionel, said that Docker had had 20 million downloads in the past four months mainly due to its ease of use and its benefits to developers. He showed a screenshot of Google Trends with ‘Docker’ compared against ‘Virtualization’. That picture is recreated below.Google Trends - Virtualization vs Docker


One of the co-founders of SocketPlane is Brent Salisbury, who has a network engineering background in academia before joining Red Hat earlier this year. In recent years he got more involved in the Open Daylight (ODL) project and is arguably the most well known network engineer-turned-coder. His blog has a wealth of information on hands on guides for installing and integrating OVS, OpenStack, and ODL, which I’ve referred to frequently. Two other prominent contributors to ODL, Madhu Venugopal and Dave Tucker, are the other co-founders of SocketPlane.

I had listened to a Class C Block podcast on ODL in November 2013, in which Venugopal and Salisbury spoke at length of their involvement with the project. Definitely worth a listen if you have the time.

What does it mean to be ‘OpenStack Compatible’?

Recently, Big Switch Networks earned bragging rights as the first networking vendor to attain the OpenStack Compatible certification. To achieve this status, the requirements are different for hardware and software products. Big Switch demonstrated compatibility with both Nova and Neutron networking environments. There are more details on the Big Switch and Mirantis sites. Big Switch differentiates between the two environments as:

  • In a Neutron implementation, the Big Cloud Fabric leverages the BSN ML2 Driver, enabling automation and orchestration of its bare metal, SDN-based Big Cloud Fabric with the OpenStack controller.
  • In a Nova implementation, Big Cloud Fabric has optimized configurations and performance enhancements that let it serve as a multi-path leaf/spine CLOS service 4k VLANs to every edge port. Unlike traditional spanning-tree based switching designs, full cross-section bandwidth can be acheived while delivering 4k vlans to every edge port with no performance penalty.

The question I have is that while obviously somebody has to be first, why aren’t there more products and vendors listed? Specifically, how soon will it be before we see HP, the leading contributor to OpenStack on that list?

Applying Moore’s Law to Cricket Bats

TL; DR – They just follow the laws of Physics.

Moore’s Law states that the number of transistors per integrated circuit will double every two years. In a recent interview with Marketplace, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, who is the sixth CEO of the company, expressed hope that Moore’s Law would remain alive on the watch of the next couple of CEOs. Currently, Intel can achieve 14 nm manufacturing processes. Krzanich said with the current technology, they can keep Moore’s Law alive for another 6-10 years.

Recently, I’ve been reading up on the science behind cricket bat manufacturing. Cricket has increasingly become a batsman’s game, highlighted not only by higher scores, but by bigger hits (more fours and sixes being hit). There are a few prevalent theories about bat manufacturing techniques improving and bats becoming heavier. A heavier bat can result in the ball being hit farther. However, as described by bat-maker Chris King, “the material and design have been pushed to their limits. Like Formula One cars, they operate at the outer edges of what’s possible.” Instead, the psychology of bat-owners is where the innovation lies. Bats, which have always been made of willow, aren’t necessarily getting heavier, but rather bigger and lighter, to give a batsman the impression that it’s heavier. Variations in the balance and the weight distribution make a huge difference. And that is what fives the batsman the sense of security and confidence to go for bigger hits. As King says, “What we’re up against is the belief that a big bat is more powerful than a bat of the same weight that’s smaller, which it isn’t. That’s against the laws of physics.”

30 Blogs in 30 Days – Let’s Do It!

I decided to jump on the bandwagon of the 30 Blogs in 30 Days challenge. Om Malik, of GigaOm fame, and Greg Ferro of Packet Pushers fame, are already on it. Let’s see if I can produce something original over 140 characters for a month.

For starters, here’s a photo I took yesterday from where I moved two weeks ago – Santa Cruz, California.

Natural Bridges State Beach from West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz, California
Natural Bridges State Beach from West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz, California, where I live