Shrijeet Mukherjee

Author Archives: Shrijeet Mukherjee

Solving challenges with Linux networking, programmable pipelines and tunnels

Exciting advances in modern data center networking

Many moons ago, Cumulus Networks set out to further the cause of open networking. The premise was simple: make networking operate like servers. To do that, we needed to develop an operating system platform, create a vibrant marketplace of compatible and compliant hardware and get a minimum set of features implemented in a robust way.

Today, these types of problems are largely behind us, and the problem set has moved in the right direction towards innovation and providing elegant solutions to the problems around scale, mobility and agility. Simply put, if “Linux is in the entire rack,” then it follows that the applications and services deployed via these racks should be able to move to any rack and be deployed for maximum overall efficiency.

The formula for this ephemeral agility then is based on two constructs.

  1. If the application can deploy anywhere, the policies governing the application’s ability to interact with the world need to be enforceable anywhere and on any rack in the entire data center.
  2. It should be possible to place an application on any rack and all the connectivity it needs should be available without needing any physical changes in Continue reading

Tipping Point 2.0

Nine months ago, I wrote about how advances in silicon designs and technologies were going to create a product set that will democratize the networking components in modern data centers. Specifically, that the Trident II family of products will perform the role that Xeon did on the compute side and provide the fulcrum on which open networking OSes would flip the industry.

Today, I am happy to add to that story and talk a little about the secondary effects that that tipping point has set in motion. We had set about to make the networking space an open, agile and innovation-laden environment akin to the compute space, but we are finding a tremendous appetite for the story to be moved further forward and have networking and compute be treated as complete equals. The drive to manage compute and networking in a harmonious way, in the way that a bus and CPUs operate inside a single box, will have a familiar lynchpin – x86 processors.

Let’s look at a little historical context around the progression of CPUs that sit inside data center switching systems. Traditionally, the CPU that sat inside a networking box operated its control plane. The calculus used to Continue reading