Bapi_V_Headshot.jpg

Open-NFP: A New Forum for Networking Data Plane Acceleration Research

By Bapi Vinnakota | Apr 05, 2016

Netronome held an inaugural P4/C Workshop in November 2015. The conference was a one-day technical hands-on introduction to P4 and C based programming on Netronome intelligent server adapters (ISAs) and was attended by more than twenty universities and companies. More than three-fourths of the attendees developed or conducted research in networking systems and software. Post-conference feedback from the attendees indicated that again more than three fourths planned to use P4 or a combination of P4 and C to code the data plane in networks. At the conference, Netronome also introduced Open-NFP.org, a forum for open research in acceleration and offload for network function processing and for collaboration with academic institutions around the world.

Since the conference, Netronome has made a significant investment in open-nfp.org to increase its value to researchers. Through open-nfp.org, Netronome provides researchers with: Deeply discounted hardware, high-performance software and tools, tutorials and other resources to learn P4 and C, an active community in Google groups for technical discussions and a lab with Agilio CX ISAs that researchers can access remotely for research.

The goal of the activities at Open-NFP.org is to significantly decrease the cost and complexity of research in accelerated network function processing.

Academic institutions worldwide have responded very positively to this outreach. Open-NFP.org started with projects from three universities, has since grown to six and has several more in the pipeline. The projects proposed span multiple aspects of research in SDN, including OpenFlow, P4, Machine Learning, Monitoring and Performance Analysis.

Our goals with Open-NFP for the rest of the year include providing greater access to the learning material at Open-NFP.org, adding new learning material, collaborating with industrial research labs, continuing to grow academic participation, growing software contributions from academia and a follow on workshop. Over the next few months, we will review specific research projects in greater detail. We invite you to contribute to the community with a project description and participate in the group discussion.