Light Reading
Hardware accelerators can help NFV servers meet the demands of carrier networks, says a Broadcom executive.

Broadcom Touts Hybrid Hardware Approach to NFV

Mitch Wagner
7/7/2014
50%
50%

Carriers should adopt a hybrid hardware approach to their NFV deployments, enabling them to benefit from commodity servers as well as the performance of dedicated appliances, says Nicholas Ilyadis, VP and CTO of the infrastructure and networking group at Broadcom.

A hybrid approach would combine the virtues of commodity server hardware -- reusability, flexibility, low cost, and more -- with the throughput needed for carrier networks, says Ilyadis.

Servers based on commodity x86 or ARM processors can benefit from hardware accelerators performing packet header processing, deep packet inspection, encryption, and other functions that can be moved off the CPU for greater efficiency, Ilyadis says.

Nicholas Ilyadis, VP and CTO, infrastructure and networking group, Broadcom
Nicholas Ilyadis, VP and CTO, infrastructure and networking group, Broadcom

Running a commodity server for NFV is like running a commodity server as a network switch: It has performance costs. "You can take a server and run it as a network switch and get 40Gbit/s throughput," Ilyadis says. But a commodity switch, such as Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM)'s Trident, gets much better throughput. Trident offers 32 ports at 40 Gbit/s each -- 32x the performance of a commodity server, for 1.2 terabits total -- at the same CPU wattage as the commodity server.

"If you just use a server as a switch, it's more inefficient. But the switch can't do what the server can," Ilyadis says. "If you have the switch do what it does well, and have the hardware do what it does well, and bring the two together, you have a more flexible implementation."

Bringing specialized co-processors to NFV servers will require standard APIs. "Otherwise, software developers won't know what hardware to write software for."

Ilyadis's position is arguably self-serving, as Broadcom manufactures networking and communications integrated circuits (ICs) and would benefit from adding its hardware accelerators to commodity servers. But Ilyadis points out that Broadcom also makes commodity ARM server hardware, so it benefits from pure commodity servers as well.

What do you think? Would hardware accelerators be useful for NFV servers? Or are they as necessary as parachutes for birds?

More about NFV:

More about Broadcom:

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to wagner@lightreading.com.

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Charly Babbage
100%
0%
Charly Babbage,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/10/2014 | 5:58:37 PM
Hardware acceleration on adjacent top-of-rack switch
This article talks about adding a special "acceleration" co-processor to NFV servers.  Another interesting line of thought is to use the forwarding chip (Broadcom or something else) that is already present right next to the server (namely in the top of rack switch) for hardware acceleration.  That would require open "hardware offload" APIs between the top-of-rack switch and the server.
Flash Poll
LRTV Custom TV
Driving the Network Transformation

7|23|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


Intel's Sandra Rivera discusses network transformation and how Intel technologies, programs, and standards body efforts have helped the industry migration to SDN and NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed NFV-Based Business Services by RAD

7|18|14   |   5:38   |   (0) comments


With the ETSI-approved Distributed NFV PoC running in the background, RAD's CEO, Dror Bin, talks about why D-NFV makes compelling sense for service providers, and about the dollars and cents RAD is putting behind D-NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
MRV – Accelerating Packet Optical Convergence

7|15|14   |   6:06   |   (0) comments


Giving you network insight to make your network smarter.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV-Enabled Ethernet for Generating New Revenues

7|15|14   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


Cyan's Planet Orchestrate allows service providers and their end-customers to activate software-based capabilities such as firewalls and encryption on top of existing Ethernet services in just minutes.
LRTV Custom TV
Symkloud NVF-Ready Video Transcoding, Big Data

7|9|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


Kontron and ISV partner Vantrix demonstrate high-performance video transcoding and data analytic solutions on same 2U standard platform that is ready for SDN and NFV deployments made by mobile, cable and cloud operators.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Evolving Role of Hybrid Video for Competitive Success

7|4|14   |   4:09   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's Global Analysts Summit in Shenzhen, China, Steven C. Hawley from TV Strategies speaks to us about the evolving role of hybrid video for competitive success.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How CSPs Leverage Big Data in the Digital Economy

7|4|14   |   4:48   |   (2) comments


Justin van der Lande from Analysys Mason shares with us his views on how telecom operators can leverage customer asset monetization with big data. His discusses the current status of big data applications and the challenges and opportunities for telecom operators in the digital economy era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerator for Digital Business – Future Oriented BSS

7|4|14   |   3:08   |   (0) comments


Mobile and internet are becoming intertwined; IT and CT are integrating; and leading CSPs have begun to transform to information service and entertainment providers. How should the BSS system evolve to enable this transformation? Karl Whitelock, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, shares his views.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Orange Tunisia Discusses Multi-Band Antenna With EasyRET Solution

7|4|14   |   2:45   |   (0) comments


As new site acquisition becomes more difficult, Orange Tunisia has requested multi-band antenna to support UMTS and LTE innovation. Some things considered include reducing the cost of antenna maintenance and having high reliability antenna and EasyRET solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How Telefonica Spain Considers Antenna Selection for LTE Network Deployment

7|4|14   |   2:19   |   (0) comments


Tony Conlan, Global CTO of RAN, Telefonica, shares his opinion on antennas in LTE network deployment: Tower space is the premier requirement on antennas; reliability is important to reduce OPEX; and EasyRET solution will be helpful for antenna maintenance.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
dtac Thailand: Multi-band Antenna & Capacity Solution for a Better MBB Experience

7|3|14   |   3:45   |   (0) comments


With the development of LTE, tower space and load are limited for new antenna, but users' capacity requirements are growing fast. To provide a better MBB experience, Panya Vechbanyongratana from dtac Thailand shared his experiences and antenna requirements.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Panel: Network of the Future

7|2|14   |   1:00:57   |   (0) comments


Full-length video of the ATIS Panel Discussion: 'How Far Away Is the Network of the Future & What Does It Look Like?' from the Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
Infographics
Allot's latest MobileTrends Charging Report shows that value-based pricing plans are up from 35% in 2011 to 85% in 2014.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
Microsoft to Axe 12,500 Ex-Nokia Employees
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/17/2014
The Municipal Menace?
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 7/22/2014
GM: 10 Car Models on Road With AT&T's LTE
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 7/18/2014
Apple Earnings: Strong iPhone Sales, iPad Sales Slump, $7.8B Profit
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/22/2014
Cisco Puts a Fog Over IoT
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/23/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed