THE Technical Conference on Linux Networking

Netdev 0.1


talk | hardware switches - the opensource approach

Jiří Pírko

Imagine buying off the shelf switch hardware, install Fedora (or any other distribution) and configure it using standard linux tools. This is not possible at the moment primarily because of lack of unified and consistent platforms and driver interfaces. We are working to change that.

The current state of support for switch chips in Linux is not good. Each vendor provides userspace binary sdk blob that only works with their chips. Each of this blobs has proprietary APIs. To get switch chips properly supported there's need to introduce a new infrastructure directly into Linux kernel and to work with vendors to adopt it.

This talk presents the current effort to unify and uphold the Linux networking model across the spectrum of devices which is necessary to make Linux the cornerstone of industrial grade networking. The scope of this talk covers state of art with current implementation of standard commodity switches such as top of rack switches, small home gateway device as well as SR-IOV NIC embedded switches.

A device model and driver infrastructure will be presented for accelerating the Linux bridge, Linux router, accelerated host virtual switches and flow level offloads when supported by the hardware underneath.

slides: /docs/pirko-switchdev-slides.pdf