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Broadcom Launches Version 2.0 of OF-DPA Reference Platform

December 15, 2014

The Broadcom Corporation, a leading provider of semiconductor solutions for wired and wireless communications, recently announced the release of version 2.0 of its next-generation OpenFlow Data Plane Abstraction (OF-DPA) reference platform. Optimized for application in carrier networks and datacenters, the platform includes implementation of the Open Networking Foundation's (ONF) OpenFlow 1.3.1 specification and APIs as well as support for new networking protocols.

Using the platform, service providers are able to provision, control and instrument network switch elements with a standardized instruction set based on OpenFlow specifications. It is designed to run smoothly on Broadcom's popular StrataXGS chipset and aligns with the flexibility and control requirements typical of large-scale carrier deployments.

"Broadcom's OF-DPA v2.0 supports emerging Software Defined Networking (SDN) use cases for service provider networks," said Ram Velaga, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Network Switch at Broadcom. "The OF-DPA 2.0 feature set for the widely-deployed StrataXGS-based hardware, coupled with a rich software ecosystem, enables improved efficiency and operational agility for the largest carriers around the globe."

Version 2.0 includes many new carrier features such as support for MPLS-TP, MPLS L3 VPN, VLAN Translation, OAM and QoS DiffServ per-hop behavior based on RFC=compliant Meter table extensions. Carrier network operators now have access to the same scalable infrastructure with additional tools to automate programming abstractions from standard controllers, such as requirements for a Packet Transport Network (PTN) switch and the semantics of hardware packet flows.

Popular SDN use cases - such as virtual tenant networks, network virtualization, traffic engineering and service chaining - are enabled by the updated platform. The OF-DPA leverages ONF Forwarding Abstractions Working Group Table Type Patterns (TTP), provides a scalable OpenFlow switch pipeline to maximize efficiency of ASIC resources (with support for multiple platforms) and uses multiple tables along with intrinsic ASIC functionality to improve latency and throughput of flows at scale.

Kiyo Osishi, CEO and President of Broadcom's ecosystem partner IP Infusion, commented, "Broadcom's OF-DPA 2.0 gives users a simple and easy way to implement multiple flow tables, project the table type definitions to controller, and most importantly, to utilize the build-in pipeline of the chipset to implement services mimicking a traditional switch, but with the flexibility of OpenFlow. By making it easier to use and test APIs, our carrier network and datacenter customers will be able to benefit from faster development and test cycles to more quickly deploy new applications and services."

The OF-DPA specification and API are openly published and provided with turnkey reference implementation on Original Device Manufacturers (ODM) and Open Compute Project (OCP)-compliant switches, which according to the vendor enables a community and academia-based development ecosystem. Broadcom's OF-DPa v2.0 reference platform is currently available from the vendor's website.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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