Ram Velaga senior vice president and general manager of network switch at Broadcom

Ram Velaga, senior vice president and general manager of network switch at Broadcom

Broadcom Specification Urges More OpenFlow Switches

Broadcom unveiled a new specification at the Open Networking Summit that is intended to increase the number of production-quality OpenFlow switches, furthering its plans for software-defined networking (SDN).

Broadcom is hoping to encourage others to release OpenFlow-based switches. The vendor announced at the Open Networking Summit (ODS) the OpenFlow Data Plane Abstraction (OF-DPA) v1.0 specification, software and API—an openly published implementation of physical switch hardware pipeline abstraction for the Open Networking Foundation's (ONF) OpenFlow 1.3.1 Switch.

All of this fits into a greater Broadcom software-defined networking (SDN) strategy, as OpenFlow is one of the methods many vendors and partners are relying on to deploy SDN. According to Broadcom, its new OF-DPA specification, software and API can be used to implement popular use cases including network virtualization, multitenant networks and traffic engineering with higher scale and performance.

"The openly published OF-DPA specification, software and API exposes OpenFlow-compliant programming constructs over Broadcom's StrataXGS Ethernet Switch Series," said Ram Velaga, senior vice president and general manager of Network Switches at Broadcom, in a prepared statement. "By mapping the OpenFlow 1.3.1 pipeline to high bandwidth and high density switch silicon like the StrataXGS Trident Series, we are enabling SDN applications to achieve high performance and scale."

The OF-DFA version 1.0 includes these key features:

  • It provides an ONF OpenFlow 1.3.1-compliant switch pipeline and APIs for modifying and querying flow table and group table entries, as well as for configuring ports, queues and VXLAN overlay logical ports.
  • An API library, application development kit and programmer's guide, all released under the Apache 2.0 license.
  • Support for SDN use cases such as virtual tenant networks, network virtualization using overlays and traffic engineering.
  • Future OF-DPA versions will support additional Broadcom switch features required in service provider and carrier class applications.

The current beta version is available on GitHub, but Broadcom expects to release it for general availability sometime this month.

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