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  • Tom Herbert

Why a Software-Programmable Network Datapath is Important for CSPs

When most of us think of networks, we think of the Ethernet cable or wireless signal that connects our computer to the internet. For cloud service providers (CSPs), the network is something a little more complex. The value propositions for cloud service providers is to rapidly scale up (or downs) the resources to their customers and to quickly adapt the networking infrastructure to address security threats and other operational issues or bugs that pop up in the day in the life of a network infrastructure. With this flexibility, it is still expected that the network provides the performance, availability, and reliability demanded by the CSP customers. A CSP may have a million or more customers running simultaneously across their shared infrastructure. Each of these customers has their own flavor of infrastructure that is best-suited for their applications: network profiles, servers, security, storage, and orchestration resources. Additionally, each customers’ virtual private cloud (VPC) must be isolated from the VPCs of other customers. Finally, customer applications running on these VPCs must be able to be easily migrated across resources, both to maximize application availability and to simplify the rapid scaling up or down of the resources available to the customers.

The customer-centric infrastructure polices are typically implemented by programming the network datapath within the network adapters and servers. This programming implements a variety of policies that ensure that data being sent through these VPCs, that the correct security protocols are applied, and that the data gets to where it is supposed to when it is supposed to. CSPs spend hundreds of man-years developing, deploying, and maintaining this critical infrastructure software. If implemented correctly, this is all invisible to the CSP’s customers – they do not impact the execution of the customers’ applications. The VPCs must also be implemented efficiently on the CSP’s hardware, without taking significant cycles away from customer application execution.


SiPanda was created to rethink the network datapath and bring both flexibility and wire-speed performance at scale to networking infrastructure. The SiPanda architecture enables data center infrastructure operators and application architects to build solutions for cloud service providers to edge compute (5G) that don’t require the compromises inherent in today’s network solutions. For more information, please visit www.sipanda.io.

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