Netcope Unveils Netcope P4 - a Breakthrough in Smart NIC Performance and Programmability

24/10/17

The Netcope P4 is now officially online and it represents a paradigm shift in SmartNIC programming, making FPGAs much more accessible and cost effective.

The launch of our Netcope P4 is not just another product launch, where we announce a couple of tweaks here and there resulting in a marginal benefit for the customer. It is a launch of an entirely new industry concept that opens up new possibilities for network operators who take advantage of equipment with programmable hardware. The management of network functions has never been simpler and more budget-friendly. We call this concept a Firmware as a Service (FaaS).

FaaS takes full advantage of a harmony between high speed FPGA hardware and P4 high level programming language. Traditionally, a customer would buy a smart network card with an FPGA chip with which they would accelerate the desired solution. With a skill in HDL, the functionality of this solution could be reprogrammed and changed. But the requirement of the HDL skill is nothing trivial.

Fortunately, the P4 programming language has been defined relatively recently in order to tackle the problem of hardware programmability. SDN promises finally fulfilled, P4 is a high level declarative language so any network engineer can take charge of it just as easily as they would take charge of C++. In effect, this language helps to circumvent the difficult and expensive process of HDL programming, unlocking the flexibility of FPGA technology to a much broader technical audience.

The FaaS in practice means that the customer would define the desired SmartNIC function in P4, upload it to the Netcope P4 Cloud and get the synthesised FPGA firmware overnight. You do the describing, we do the heavy lifting. The consequence is a dramatic reduce of time to market or operation of your 100 Gbps network interfaces. Our early access customers use Netcope P4 together with Netcope FPGA Boards for R&D and at-speed tests of advanced networking concepts, such as OVS acceleration and Segment Routing. Continue to the Netcope P4 product page to learn more.

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We have also prepared a Demo Lab where you can try Netcope P4. It’s not just a software simulation. In the Demo Lab you can remotely access our hardware and test your P4 code at full 100Gbps performance. Just upload your P4 code and watch how it works.