Broadcom Expands Ethernet Switch Software Suite with Fully Open Source Software Development Kit

Broadcom has announced the immediate availability of SDKLT – a fully open source Software Development Kit (SDK) for Ethernet switch ASICs. SDKLT utilizes a table-driven approach to configure Ethernet switch ASICs and would be built to accelerate the software development of “high-performance” networking infrastructure.

By offering a complete open source SDK, Broadcom would take a significant step forward towards fulfilling the vision of an entirely open networking ecosystem. It allows hardware vendors, network OS providers, and SDN controller developers to readily build and customize their switch APIs. They can also freely redistribute their enhancements and leverage the community to “quickly” deliver “high-quality” solutions to the market.

The “innovative” logical table-based approach used in SDKLT would simplify the task of configuring the feature-rich Ethernet switch silicon in use today. With this approach, all device physical resources such as MAC Address Tables, L3 route tables, etc. are presented to users as explicitly defined logical tables instead of specific function calls.

Data Center Operators

The new switch software approach would empower data center operators with greater control over their infrastructure resources. SDKLT introduces new ways to monitor, analyze, and provision switch resources, all through the use of industry standard automation tools. Network OS and SDN applications would benefit from this new level of operational efficiencies which are realized through the flexible transaction management, device resource visibility, and performance improvements offered by SDKLT.

“We are delighted to announce another industry first with our fully open source SDKLT to accelerate the development and deployment of Broadcom’s switch silicon,” said Ram Velaga, senior vice president and general manager of switching products, Broadcom. “SDKLT brings a fresh, state-of-the-art software development approach to the broader community of network software developers where they can now fully and directly control and monitor the rich switch feature set optimized for SDN and cloud use cases.”

Key attributes and benefits of the new SDKLT software would include:

  • Open source code and the logical table APIs are released under Apache 2.0 license
  • Device behavior is managed by logical tables via small set of APIs
  • Logical table APIs designed to readily support RPC-able client-server model
  • Full device provisioning and control through automation (CLI, YAML, XML, etc.)
  • Performance optimized software architecture
  • High visibility and control over device resources provide optimal resource management
  • Flexible transaction management with comprehensive support for batched or atomic operations via single API call
  • Architected for High Availability (HA) including support for Soft Error Recovery, Warmboot, and In-Service Upgrade

“As pioneers and firm believers in Open Networking, we developed our Dell EMC OS10 operating system to deliver the unique flexibility necessary for a modern cloud provider,” said Gavin Cato, Senior Vice President Development Engineering, Dell Networking. “With these new SDKLT capabilities, our OS10 customers can further optimize data center infrastructure for greater efficiency and scale.”

Logical Table APIs

The first open source offering of SDKLT is based on the BCM56960 Tomahawk switch. SDKLT open source code is now available on GitHub and its logical table APIs are Apache 2.0 licensed.

“CMCC applauds Broadcom’s decision to open source SDKLT on its flagship Tomahawk product,” said Dr.Han Li, Director of CMCC Network Institute, China mobile. “It is a great step forward in accelerating innovation in the SDN and datacenter use cases. We look forward to continuing our close collaboration with Broadcom in leading edge network technologies.”