Stateless Integrates SD-IX Platform with Intel's Tofino ASIC

Network connectivity solutions provider Stateless announced this week a new collaboration with Intel to integrate the chip giant's Barefoot Tofino ASIC with the Stateless Luxon software-defined interconnect (SD-IX) platform.

Barefoot Tofino is the world's first end-user programmable Ethernet switch. It's built using a Protocol Independent Switch Architecture (PISA) and is P4-programmable. (P4 is a language for programming the data plane of network devices.)

Luxon, which Stateless says is the industry's first SD-IX platform, is designed to provide intelligence and functionality beyond the datacenter through Layer 3+ network services. It gives cloud, colocation and datacenter providers the ability to build new networking products to move data among datacenters, tenant sites and hyperscale clouds. It allows colocation network providers to dynamically deliver routing, security and automation services to network interconnection points through software.

Combining the Stateless software with Intel's hardware provides developers and DevOps with the flexibility they need to address what Stateless VP of Marketing Mike Anderson describes as "a new era of connectivity."

"The way the networks are being used, the people who actually use them, and the applications that run on them are all changing in rather dramatic ways," Anderson told ADTmag. "It's no longer just the network engineers with Cisco certifications who are out there trying to build interconnections. There are new demands from DevOps teams, new demands for encryption -- and behind it all is the explosive growth in the amount of data we're moving around and the kinds of devices that are connected to the network."

"Today, we have to fundamentally redesign the networking stack," added Stateless CEO and Co-Founder Murad Kablan. "We cannot just have yet another orchestrator, yet another controller, or faster rather passive VMs. It's not about that anymore. The whole industry requirement is changing. Things need to be simple, evolvable and scalable. And with this collaboration, we'll be able to offer them technology that will enable a lot of interesting connectivity that is very hard to do now especially, at scale."

The combination of the Stateless programmable microservice ecosystem and Intel's Tofino chip provides full programmability of network functions spanning the data link through application layers, Kablan explained. It allows true machine-to-machine (M2M) control of lower layer byte-to-packet framing and provides enhanced flexibility to meet emerging requirements, such as multicloud connections, encryption everywhere and 5G.

With this collaboration, Stateless and Intel are addressing the next big thing in the cloud age, said Craig Matsumoto, senior analyst at 451 Research: controlling the network with software.

"Enterprises have grown accustomed to controlling infrastructure through software in the cloud age," Matsumoto said in a statement, "but the network has been relatively slow to catch up to that trend. Stateless Inc.'s move to add P4 programmable switch technology to its Luxon platform provides high-level network control and allows users to more easily build software-configurable networks."

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].