Virtualization Technology News and Information
Netronome Brings the Efficiencies of Mega-Scale Data Centers to Mainstream Server Networking

Netronome, a leading provider of high-performance intelligent networking solutions, today announced its Agilio Server Networking Platform, the first intelligent, software and hardware-based solution designed to completely and transparently offload server-based networking data paths, such as open virtual switch (OVS), Juniper Networks Contrail vRouter, and Linux firewall. The Agilio platform enables businesses of all sizes to dramatically increase the efficiency of their data center compute infrastructure, delivering up to 5X higher throughput while reducing CPU requirements by up to 80 percent compared to traditional NICs and server-based networking implemented in software. Restoring valuable compute resources reduces customer total cost of ownership (TCO) by delivering unmatched price/performance for compute and service node applications to service provider and enterprise cloud networks, while preserving standard cloud configuration and automation tools.

Modern data center applications are causing rapid sprawl of virtual machines, while deployment of large numbers of containers is on the horizon. To support such applications, networking features such as virtualization, security, load balancing and telemetry are quickly evolving in server-based networking solutions such as virtual switches, virtual routers, or Linux firewalls that use connection tracking. Server-based networking also has evolved as the most widely deployed form of software-defined networking (SDN) and is used for critical functions such as zero-trust security using micro-segmentation, virtual network functions (VNFs) and application-based analytics. However, such functions are compute-intensive and drastically impact the efficiency of the data center infrastructure, especially as networking bandwidth reaches 10Gb/s and higher, a norm in modern data centers. The Agilio solution can accelerate such server-based networking functions, delivering 20X the price/performance of the nearest competitor.

“While server-based networking is providing higher efficiency and scale for the world’s largest data centers, the need for SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV) is accelerating the demand for increased performance across the broad spectrum of cloud-based data centers,” said Niel Viljoen, co-founder and CEO of Netronome. “The purpose-built Agilio platform uniquely addresses a critical inflection point in the industry caused by rapid software innovations in server-based networking on one side, and the burgeoning cost of compute on the other, resulting in the rise of heterogeneous computing.”

Unmatched Price/Performance in Server-based Networking Price-for-Performance

Flow and tunnel processing at scale are the underpinnings of server-based networking. Agilio CX intelligent server adapters (ISAs) are based on a unique flow processing silicon (NFP-4000) and software architecture (Agilio Software). The Agilio CX ISAs work in compliance with standard networking software in commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers. The Agilio ISAs use onboard memory to support up to two million security policies, and deliver 28Mpps of throughput using hardware-based acceleration. This amounts to 8X more security policies at 5X higher throughput while consuming one-tenth the compute resources required to deliver scalable server-based networking functions.

Timely Hardware Feature Rollouts Leverage Rapid Innovation in Software

The Agilio solution is truly software-defined and can therefore evolve rapidly, in lockstep with innovations from the open source networking software community, without requiring a hardware refresh. The offload of server-based networking functions to the Agilio CX hardware is implemented transparently, enabling seamless configuration using popular cloud management tools such as OpenStack, allowing for scalable cloud deployments. Rapid innovation now becomes feasible with the benefits of hardware acceleration, significantly improving compute efficiency and performance while maintaining operator flexibility and control.

Product Availability

The Agilio server-based networking solutions include:

  • Production-ready Agilio Software currently supports OVS v2.3 and v2.4, with support for OVS v2.5, Linux Firewall, and the Juniper Networks Contrail vRouter expected during the first half of 2016. The Agilio host software package is open sourced, has been up-streamed to relevant Linux repositories and is also available at
  • The Agilio CX family of intelligent server adapters includes standard PCIe Gen3 low-profile adapter cards for customer deployments. 10 and 40GbE configurations of the intelligent server adapters are in production now, with additional 25, 40 and 50GbE configurations expected to sample during the middle of 2016
Published Tuesday, January 26, 2016 8:41 AM by David Marshall
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