What's new in Solaris Networking

It's been a while since I last blogged - oh well, I guess having a 2 1/2-year old and a 10 month old in the house counts as an excuse.

A lot has happened in the last few months. I've personally talked to a lot of customers and ISVs. Everyone is excited to see Crossbow moving along. A lot of people have signed up for the upcoming beta.

I also see CrossBow as a key enabler for ISVs and OEMs trying to consolidate networking services on the same piece of HW. Being able to virtualize the networking interface and assigning dedicated networking bandwidths to those without losing any performance is huge. Combine that with an improved offering of networking services that we are planning to integrate into Solaris and you make it very easy for ISVs to provide additional value add to their customers. As a security ISV you'll be able to add basic routing or load balancing functionality to your product without any significant development effort. And vice versa.

Of course we are not quite there yet, ipfilter and Quagga are in Solaris already today. But we'll need to look into additional services: Several ISVs are very interested in basic load balancing functionality. This would be a logical extension of what Solaris offers today. PBX is another candidate that's worth exploring. Somebody in SunLabs has ported Asterisk over to Solaris, that's certainly worth checking out. There is also a lot of interest from the security community. People are interested in snort in particular. There might be others that I just haven't explored yet. I guess we'll just have to do some more home work on this front. At any rate, it's extremely exciting to expand the features in Solaris beyond what we have traditionally been offering.

Forwarding performance is another hot item right now. With project Surya which went into S10 08/07 we have increased the Solaris forwarding performance by about 30%. Since then we have been doing a lot of additional work in that area. We have been able to achieve an additional 50% gain with e1000g and we are currently working on our the Huron platform which is running the new Niagara 2 chip which already has two 10GBE Neptune NICs on the chip itself.

On the ipfilter front we are currently working on implementing Layer 2 filtering as well as enabling multiple instances of the pfhooks APIs. This allows ISVs to run their own application in addition to ipfilter.

Good progress has been made on the IOAT front. The plan is to get IOAT support into Solaris very soon. It looks like we are getting some solid performance gains with IOAT.

The xVM project just integrated into Solaris. Shortly after the hypervisor copy functionality was added which speeds things up further.

And of course Clearview, Network Automagic, R-Bridges as well as Brussels are moving along very nicely.

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