Intel and Aricent Partner to Build Next-Generation Carrier and Data Center Networks

With the emergence of Software Defined Networking (SDN), Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and rapid innovations in the cloud, service providers and networking equipment manufacturers are working to transform existing carrier and data center networking infrastructure. The network is transforming to be more robust, faster, low-latency, highly resilient and agile ̶ a network that can reconfigure itself easily, attach itself with CPUs and steer the data in and out efficiently from CPU clusters.

Intel® Ethernet Multi-host Controller FM10000 will address the evolving needs of the next-generation carrier and data center networks. It provides PCIe connectivity to enable CPU clusters to directly connect with each other over PCI Express lane and it provides 100G Ethernet interface for external connectivity. Imagine… with a high performance server powered by Intel Ethernet Multi-host Controller FM10000, you can terminate the Intel® Xeon® CPUs directly on high-speed PCIe Express lanes. If required, you can also switch the packets to external systems with lower overheads. The deployments can cut cost of the server chassis, as you would not need multiple Network Interface Controllers (NICs) and middle boxes. It brings in an exciting proposition for both service providers and networking equipment manufacturers.

Aricent is partnering with Intel to bring in its feature rich software - Intelligent Switch Software (ISS) on Intel Ethernet Multi-host Controller FM10000. Aricent ISS software has 10+ years of successful history, with over 100 clients worldwide. ISS is used by Tier 1 OEM clients to build switches and routers. It is deployed in large data centers and carrier networks.

Intel and Aricent have been collaborating since 2008 and achieved many significant milestones together. Aricent was the first ISV to bring its ISS switch software on Intel® Ethernet Switch FM4000 and FM6000 series to enable low latency 10G switches. Aricent ISS software and Intel chipsets have powered some of the world’s first low latency 24x10G blade switches inside the x86 blade systems.

Aricent ISS software is a complete network operating system, with features including chassis management, system startup infrastructure, portable library for OS abstraction, persistent database, and hardware abstraction layer to support Intel Ethernet families including FM10000 and FM6000. The software also supports hardened L2 features including VLAN, RSTP, LACP and IGMP, scalable routing through OSPF, BGP, multicast (PIM SM, DM) software and both IPv4 and IPv6. ISS management software provides SSH, SNMP and CLI interfaces. Aricent’s data center software provides DCBX, LLDP, PFC, ETS, VXLAN gateway, Ethernet VPN (eVPN) and fiber channel switch infrastructure (NPV, NPIV Modes) and FCF functions for blade systems. Aricent’s ISS also enables next generation networking through OpenFlow, NETCONF and YANG management interfaces.

As part of the partnership, Aricent’s ISS has been ported on Intel FM10000 for advanced Ethernet switch capabilities for NFV and data center applications. The software has two variations. Aricent ported it’s software to Intel® Open Network Platform (Intel®ONP) 2.0 using the standard Linux netlike interfaces. It provides options our clients’ an option to choose from open source or Aricent ISS field hardened software for control plane of switch. Another option is to use Aricent ISS integration over Intel Ethernet Switch family APIs.
Aricent ISS software enables multiple interesting use cases for cloud infrastructure, blade systems and micro servers in enterprise and NFV deployments:

  • Multi-Home NIC – It is a simple case of using Intel’s FM10000 as a multi-home super NIC with a PCIe interface for CPU cluster connectivity and Ethernet interfaces for external connectivity with top of rack (TOR) switches or direct spine connectivity. Aricent ISS software enables L2 switching configurations.
  • Blade Switch – A simple blade switch configuration for internal and external connectivity. Aricent ISS L2 provides complete switch control plane.
  • Switching solution for Rack-Scale Architecture – Enables Intel’s FM10000 for complete L2 switching solution on rack-scale architecture.
  • NFV Platform for Accelerated Switching – Carrier network workloads demand very high packet processing. Imagine a cluster of CPUs are engaged with telco workload processing exchanging packets across the CPUs and external world. A software defined data plane on Intel’s FM10000 powered by Aricent OpenFlow software can simplify lots of network configurations and connectivity challenges.

Intel Ethernet Multi-host Controller FM10000 powered by Aricent’s ISS is well-positioned to enable multiple forward-looking uses cases for next-generation SDN/NFV-enabled carrier and cloud infrastructure networks. Aricent is committed to bringing more features and functionalities to Intel’s FM10000 platform such as resiliency, distributed networks.

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