“Softly” Defined Networks

Xilinx Punches Up the Programmability

by Kevin Morris

Programmability is a powerful concept. It allows us to build a physical machine and then modify, upgrade, repurpose, repair, and evolve it - without having to alter the original physical hardware. It allows us to design one device to serve multiple purposes, with variants, upgrades, and value-added features enabled with the flip of a few bits. Programmability extends the life of equipment in the field, reduces inventory requirements, simplifies maintenance and diagnostics, and often eliminates the need to roll a service truck altogether.

In the world of networking, programmability promises these enormous benefits in the extreme. With the global bandwidth glut, network build-out has been a high-stakes, high-priority, big-revenue, full-throttle enterprise for the past three decades - and it shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. If you’re designing network hardware, you already know the drill. You design around the bleeding-edge of what’s possible with current hardware, often against standards that are still in flux, in a race against other companies’ engineering teams that are just as daring and terrified as you are.  Read More


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forum

Attack of the Tiny Terrors

Posted on 04/23/14 at 6:10 PM by Jim Turley

Jim Turley
Very true. And Actel (now Microsemi) has something similar. Farther back, Scenix did all of its peripherals in software; there were no "real" peripherals at all, just code.

CEO For a Day

Posted on 04/23/14 at 6:08 PM by Jim Turley

Jim Turley
Think you've got what it takes to be a Silicon Valley CEO? Let's hear it.

Communications Out of Thin Air

Posted on 04/23/14 at 1:24 PM by bmoyer

bmoyer
Just to clarify something that comes up frequently in your comments, I never intended to assert that this was specifically energy-free. The point is that the system doesn't have to generate the radiated signal - it bounces the existing one. It, of course,…

Toward Ten TeraFLOPS

Posted on 04/23/14 at 1:09 PM by TotallyLost

TotallyLost
@Kevin,

The big mistake is to assume you really want to cool a multi-megawatt system with air. At some point the energy cost to cool/move the air, is significantly more than the electronics itself -- reflected not only in direct energy costs, but incre…

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