STORDIS launches two bare-metal switches powered by Barefoot Tofino ASIC

Open Networking experts STORDIS announced the launch of two bare-metal switches powered by the fully programmable Barefoot Tofino ASIC. An industry first, the STORDIS Advanced Programmable Switches (APS) offer comprehensive 1588v2 time synchronisation support, as well as providing more powerful processing, higher memory and greater in-built storage capacity.

Next generation networking functionality is delivering significant, and often critical, business advantage across an increasing number of markets. The implementation of the open source P4 programming language on Barefoot’s Tofino networking ASIC, is sparking a new boom in open networking innovation, allowing industry groups, system integrators and end-users to engineer significant new advantage for themselves.

STORDIS’ new, more powerful and feature-rich bare-metal switches have been built in response to previously unmet customer requirements across a variety of markets including telecoms, finance, media and broadcast, cybersecurity, industry and academia (see the packed Supporting Quotes: section below).

“After delivering P4 trainings for Barefoot in Europe and speaking to customers, we found that users needed a more powerful hardware platform to capture the full benefits of the Tofino ASIC’s programmable architecture. Support for time synchronization is also essential to engineer solid business advantage across a range of industries,” states Alexander Jeffries, CEO of STORDIS.

“These are the first switches to go beyond simply swapping out the chipset in a standard OTS bare-metal switch. We have put a lot of thought and research into building a broader, open hardware architecture that supports real-world use cases. And we will be releasing the full switch specifications and design documents to the Open Compute Project.”

Support for 1588v2 time synchronisation on the STORDIS APS range is also designed to enable users to program more advanced (often application-level) functionality into the network. For example, accurate time stamping enables more efficient 5G features development in Telco environments, IP Studio and live digital broadcast for media companies, and can be essential for accuracy within financial trading environments.

Both switches are available from early April from STORDIS.

STORDIS APS hardware specifications

Alongside support for boundary and transparent clock time synchronization, both new switch models sport an 8-core CPU, 128GB SSD and 32GB of RAM. The 25G platform (see below) is also the only Tofino based switch to have 1G support, delivering backward-compatibility that is essential in many markets.

The first two models in the STORDIS APS series are:

  • BF2556X-1T: 48x25G/8x100G, supporting speeds of 1, 10, 25, 40, 50 and 100G, based on the Barefoot Tofino 2.0Tbps ASIC, 8-core CPU, 128GB SSD, 32GB RAM, 1588v2 support, 1 x 1PPS SMA connector, 2x SFP SDN controller ports, support for 1G on ports 1 to 16
  • BF6064X-T: 64x100G, support speeds of 10, 25, 40, 50 and 100G, based on the Barefoot Tofino 6.4Tbps ASIC, 8-core CPU, 128GB SSD, 32GB RAM, 1588v2 support, 2x RJ45 SDN controller ports

The switches come with AC and DC power supply options, and a 12V DC pass through module (PTM) is also available for the use in OCP racks.

Built for software defined networking

The switches also incorporate two dedicated SDN controller ports, allowing for easy and redundant integration into a broader, unified SDN architecture. With the flexibility of the programmable Barefoot Tofino ASIC using P4, customers can develop bespoke, specific, business-orientated data-plane code, which can be controlled through open controllers such as ONOS.

STORDIS training and development services

STORDIS already provides P4 trainings for existing Barefoot customers across Europe, and the company is supporting its own switching hardware with an extensive range of complementary services. Customers will have access to a range of training options around P4 development and other aspects of open networking. In addition, STORDIS is offering expert consultancy and supportive development resources for customers taking on their own in-house development projects.

The company is also keen to ensure that open networking does not have to mean ‘Do-it-Yourself’. STORDIS is offering bespoke development as a service, giving customers without a dedicated network development team equal access to the benefits of custom network functionality and open networking innovation.

NOS/software options

The new STORDIS switches will support a range of commercial switch operating systems including Kaloom and NoviFlow, with further options to be announced in the near future. In addition, there is support for open source options, such as Open Network Linux (ONL), SONiC and Ubuntu. There is also support for the Open Networking Foundation’s ‘Stratum’ project (based on ONL).

This choice of switch operating systems allows users to make use of the Tofino’s capabilities, providing access to production-ready functionality for dedicated use cases, while STORDIS is providing expert services for customising open source operating systems and bespoke P4 dataplane development.

OCP recognition

Continuing STORDIS’ support for the open networking community, the design documentation of both switches has been submitted to the Open Compute Project (OCP) with the intention of receiving the OCP Accepted; recognition. The STORDIS APS line will be the first Tofino-based switches submitted to OCP with time synchronisation support. In addition, a 2U OCP rackmount shelf will also be submitted to receive the OCP Accepted; recognition mark. This will be the first 2U switch rackmount shelf submitted to the OCP.

Summary of unique facts:

  • First bare-metal switch based on Barefoot’s Tofino with 1588v2 time-synchronisation support
  • First Tofino switches with highly powerful CPUs, larger SSD and sufficient memory to make best use of the Tofino’s capabilities
  • First Tofino-based switches with dedicated SDN controller ports
  • First Tofino-based switches with 1588v2 support to be submitted to the OCP
  • First Tofino-based switch supporting speeds from 1-100GbE

“The STORDIS switches make available new features and technology with a very comprehensive support package. STORDIS’ decision to support ONL, SONIC, Stratum and programmability with P4 aligns with the needs and opportunities we see in the market. Customers will also value having OCP-recognized switches with this level of support,” said Bill Carter, Chief Technology Officer at Open Compute Project Foundation

“The STORDIS Tofino based switch provides us with the unique ability to create sophisticated custom grooming rules for our applications in the security domain,” stated Craig Renfrew, System Architect, Illuminate Technologies.