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Linux Foundation whistles up 'Fido' for SDN, NFV

Cisco – yes, Cisco – drops foundation code into open source networking project

The Linux Foundation has kicked off a new collaboration designed to push open I/O closer to the metal, to squeeze higher performance out of the white-box world.

Fd.io – which the outfit assures the world is pronounced “Fido” – builds on efforts like Intel's Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK).

The other foundation technology under Fido might come as a surprise: Cisco has dropped its vector packet processing (VPP) technology into the effort.

That puts more than 14 years of Cisco's development work into an open source project designed to make white-box network processors more capable.

As well as Chipzilla and The Borg, the group's initial members include 6WIND, Brocade, Cavium, Comcast, Ericsson, Huawei, Inocybe Technologies, Mesosphere, Metaswitch Networks, PLUMgrid and RedHat.

The project describes its organisation as a collection of sub-projects (rather than a single monolithic architecture), providing a modular user-space I/O framework that's designed to be independent of hardware, kernel, or deployment (that is, whether it runs on bare metal, in virtual machines, or in containers).

To get things rolling, the initial FD.io release offers virtual switch and virtual router functionality based on the DPDK. This includes tooling, debug, and development environments, an OpenDaylight management agent.

A Honeycomb agent exposes netconf and yang models for SDN integration.

The current state of the technology is described at FD.io's site here.

Fido reckons its low-level APIs yield high throughput: an external application, it claims, can process as many as 750,000 routes.

“The API works via a shared memory message bus. The messages passed along the bus are specified in a simple IDL (Interface Definition Language) which is used to create C client libraries and Java client libraries”, FD.io says.

The Honeycomb agent – or, if you are willing to roll-your-own, other management agents as well – expose the already-mentioned netconf/yang interfaces, REST interfaces, and BGP. Via netconf/yang, the system can talk upstream to OpenDaylight and thence to OpenStack Neutron. ®

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