Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (Sunnyvale, Calif.) has demonstrated the use of a 64-bit ARM-based system-chip codenamed "Hierofalcon" to perform network function virtualization (NFV).
Breaking network functions down into virtualized building blocks is an approach to handling huge volumes of global IP traffic. With NFV, much of the intelligence currently built into proprietary, specialized hardware is accomplished with software running on general-purpose hardware. NFV has previously been performed on x86 based servers and AMD is claiming that it has the first NFV running on 64-bit ARM architecture. AMD worked with two partners on the demo; Aricent Inc. (Redwood City, Calif.) provided the networking software stack and Mentor Graphics Corp. (Wilsonville, Oregon) provided the Linux operating system and tools.
The Hierofalcon chip is based on eight Cortex-A57 cores and has two 64-bit DDR3/4 channels with error correction. It also includes 10Gbit per second Ethernet and PCI-Express Gen 3 network connections. The AMD Embedded R-Series SoC also provides support for ARM TrustZonetechnology and a dedicated cryptographic security co-processor. AMD, which is a fabless chip company, did not indicate what manufacturing process technology it has aimed the design at. The AMD Embedded R-Series SoC is expected to ship in the first half of 2015.
At the ARM Techcon event being held in Santa Clara, California, AMD demonstrated a NFV being used for a packet data network gateway, serving gateway and a mobility management entity. In addition to virtualizing hardware components, AMD showcased live traffic migration between the ARM-based AMD R-Series SoC and an x86-based AMD R-Series APU.
Telecommunications service providers can now deploy either x86- or ARM-based NFV infrastructure depending on cost and performance requirements, AMD said.
"By leveraging ARM and x86 architectures and NFV, AMD is moving beyond just enabling enterprise and data center solutions, to the communications backbone where service providers need cost reduction and increased bandwidth," said Adrian Neal, technology leader at Vodafone Group Services Ltd., in a statement issued by AMD.
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