Why Program a Switch?

It’s a good question... Switches are not that exciting, right? Anonymous grey or black boxes with hypnotic blinking lights, that hum quietly in the data center. They read the standard packet headers and diligently forward traffic from one interface to another. But what is ‘the standard’, who defines it? Imagine for a second that you can define your own standards. With the emerging generation of programmable switches you maintain the normal switching protocols; we are not reinventing the wheel here. But you can overlay your own network logic to be executed simultaneously, at blistering wirespeed throughput. 

You can implement any industry-specific network protocol, layering them on top of IP/Ethernet, potentially removing the need for swathes of costly black-boxes and specialist hardware. You can use custom layer 7 application logic and tagging, to build an intelligent network edge that offloads CPU processing and filters, prioritises and directs traffic; increasing system performance by orders of magnitude. You can secure, monitor and analyse your network on previously unimaginable levels. 

You can build an intelligent network and engineer functionality that, in the age of digitization and ever increasing security concerns, translates into significant competitive business advantage.    

So who is this “you”? In a world of theoretical vapourware, “you” can develop a vaccine for COVID 19, predict the lottery, second guess Donald Trump’s next tweet, and still be home in time for dinner. But re-imagining your network is pretty complex. It requires specialist knowledge and skills, and a lot of hard work. On your own, this is a herculean task.

This is where APS Networks comes in. We design and build switching hardware that is optimized towards programmable networking, software defined networking (SDN), disaggregation and network functions virtualization (NFV). But this is just the start of what we do. We then offer training, consultancy and custom development services on top. And with P4 programming on the Intel TofinoTM ASIC, “you” might be surprised how quickly we can deliver some very real results!

As if we hadn’t already piqued your interest, there is ‘a-whole-nother’ side of APSN we haven’t started on. Software, ‘programmable’ anything, is all moving in one direction: open source and collaborative development. Sure, there is still a place for constrained, proprietary software and black-box networking within organizations who just want to buy off-the-shelf. But in any industry where digitization plays a role, where: products are sold, trades are made, services are delivered, and core systems operate across a network: the real, strategic technology innovation is happening in the open source arena.

If we have your attention, take a look at our current range of switches and/or contact us because we are happy to chat.

 

Andy Heal

Blogs

  • Smart Cities: A Deeply Connected Network Fabric

    A Smart City is a city that is deeply connected by network devices throughout its fabric. This is a city that has the potential to reconfigure itself to suit changing needs. Our range of switches answer these needs. We use the P4 network programming language in our devices to allow network operators to develop intelligent network topologies.
    Andrew Heal
  • APS Networks Chosen as Solution Partner in the Intel Network Builders Winners‘ Circle Program

    The Intel Winners Circle for 2021 has been announced, and we are thrilled to be recognized within the Solution Partners in the Intel Network Builders category. Our Dedicated P4 switching platform was recognized for rapid market adoption and pioneering industry co-development projects.
    Alexander Jeffries
  • ONF and P4 - A (packet) match made in heaven

    P4, the open source programming language (which sits at the heart of APS technology) has found itself a new home within the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). We all know, any choice of home is about ‘location, location, location’ - and we think the ONF offers the most exciting new neighbourhood for this project.
    Sarah Wagner
  • Why it's Time for Accuracy at the Heart of the Network

    Time has always been at the core of our devices. Our current range of switches have a time accuracy of four nanoseconds; that's only slightly longer than it takes light to travel a meter. But we feel light is tardy and takes _far_ too long to get places. Our next generation switches will enable astonishing levels of time accuracy, enabling a whole new generation of time-sensitive applications.
    Andy Heal
  • Virtual EuroP4 Workshop and CoNEXT 2020

    The P4 programming language is the most significant step change for the Networking industry in decades. APS Networks is proud and excited to be sponsoring the upcoming virtual 3rd P4 Workshop in Europe (EuroP4). EuroP4 Workshop, which will be hosted online on the 1st of December as part of the CoNEXT 2020 virtual event.
    Sarah Wagner
  • Long Live Tofino™

    The start-up Barefoot Networks is no more, but is now a business unit in the Data Platforms Group within Intel and the range of P4-programmable Tofino™ switches is very much here to stay.
    Sarah Wagner
  • Why Program a Switch?

    With the emerging generation of programmable switches you maintain the normal switching protocols; we are not reinventing the wheel here. But you can overlay your own network logic to be executed simultaneously, at blistering wirespeed throughput.
    Andy Heal
  • > print (“hello networking world”)

    APS Networks is about using our blend of development skills in hardware, firmware/embedded, OS and application software, to help blow the world of closed networking wide open.
    Alexander Jeffries