Taking into account the challenging, complex tasks that networking platforms are expected to perform, simple packet forwarding equipment is more than passé. Modern day networking equipment should be able to handle extremely high data bandwidth along with a host of protocols, flow and session tracking, and prioritization rules depending on deep packet inspection.
All these activities need to be handled while also continuously monitoring for any possible security breaches or suspicious activities. What’s more, all these activities need to be performed in a real-time and low-latency manner. If not, developers risk experiencing service disruptions and a bogged-down network.
While selecting a networking solution, you also want to anticipate tomorrow’s needs along with current processing power and I/O bandwidth requirements. Here some of the leading qualities you want to look for you in your networking solutions as a developer –
Robust Multi-Core Processing Solutions
While multi-core processing isn’t a new concept in the world of data communication, the bandwidth demand that is required for modern day feature requirements of IPv6 and processing that is ‘application aware’ is further adding significant pressure on computing power. As a developer you need to find for yourself a robust multi-core processor, either an Intel server class CPU, or even a Cavium OCTEON III MIPS64 processor that is able to offer as many as 48 processing cores. The idea is to find a high performance networking platform which allows you to gain access to deployment-ready solutions that offer enhanced flexibility.
Solutions with Enhanced I/O Capacity
It is important to note that multi-core processing typically only helps you win half the battle. As a developer you also need to find a way to move the data into and out of these giant processing engines. Your multi-core system can soon become starved if you are not able to provide for it the right I/O capability that allows the data to seamlessly flow through the system. Consider investing in massive pipes that are able to supply 10G, 40G and 100G of data throughput to each port.
Networking Systems that Offer a Diverse Selection of Processing Technologies
To be able to keep the data flowing, you need to go beyond multi-cores and find the right combination of high quality switch, raw processing power, and hardware accelerators. Since many of the compute-intensive network functions are extremely well defined, they can significantly benefit from the right hardware accelerators. Find a solution that comes with hardware encryption, decryption, TCAMs, RegEx, compression and decompression engines.
Finally, you want to pick a compact, integrated platform that is well designed. As a developer you know how important rack space is in data centers. By investing in a compact and well integrated solution is a great way to save space and reduce power consumption without compromising on performance.