Marvell Blog

Featuring technology ideas and solutions worth sharing

Marvell


November 28th, 2017

Keeping it Real: Innovative New Product Based on Marvell ESPRESSObin Platform Enables Physical Ports to be Added to Modern Virtual Networks

By Maen Suleiman, Senior Software Product Line Manager at Marvell

A number of emerging companies that serve the networking and data storage sectors are increasingly using Marvell’s popular community board – the Marvell ESPRESSObin® platform – in their product offerings. ZeroTier Edge is the latest appliance to be added to what is an ever growing list of such product offerings.

With this new product, Irvine-based start-up ZeroTier is looking to make the wide area network (WAN) much more local. According to ZeroTier, by using ZeroTier Edge, it is possible to create secure and robust LANs that can connect with a broad array of different devices across multiple locations. This means that a greater scope of equipment will now be able to gain access to virtual network infrastructure as it continues to be rolled out, without the associated software element needing to be installed.

This feature overcomes current obstacles that are holding back more widespread use of such connectivity. For example, in relation to some legacy equipment (office peripherals, building automation systems, surveillance cameras, industrial control mechanisms, etc.), installing this software simply isn’t an option, or in other cases (like where a large number of computers are involved), it is just impractical. Furthermore, using ZeroTier Edge mitigates the serious security issues that installing software onto a multitude of connected devices could potentially raise.

Relying on Marvell’s ARMADA® system-on-chip (SoC) technology and open source software, the ZeroTier Edge is a compact and highly versatile unit that can be located on a desktop and addresses a plethora of software-defined networking applications. This unit delivers enterprise-grade VPN, SD-WAN and network virtualization functionality.

ZeroTier Edge basically acts as a pre-configured layer 2 bridge that provides the physical ports (both wired and wireless) needed to enable hardware (like the examples set forth above) to connect with virtualized networks. Its ease of use means that this unit can even be installed by non-IT staff. As a result, ZeroTier is able to offer enterprise customers a unique plug-and-play solution such that they can get the full benefit of software-defined networking without needing to implement the complex and costly bridging arrangements that would otherwise be required.

Each ZeroTier Edge unit incorporates a Marvell ESPRESSObin single board computing platform that has been purpose built for supporting open source development activity of this kind within the networking space. The board features a high performance ARMADA 3700 dual core 64-bit ARM®-based processor that is capable of running at speeds of 1.2GHz. This IC allows the ZeroTier Edge to deal with up to 1Gbps of incoming/outgoing encrypted data traffic.

Through the Marvell ESPRESSObin board, ZeroTier Edge can also take advantage of extensive I/O capabilities, with 3x Gigabit Ethernet ports, a USB 3.0 SuperSpeed interface, plus dual band 802.11ac Wi-Fi®, SATA (for connection to network data storage resources) and mini PCIe.  1GByte of on-board DRAM memory and 4GBytes of flash memory are supported, too, with provision for attaching additional memory capacity using the SD card slot. There are also ample GPIO pins available.

Thanks to the Marvell ESPRESSObin board’s ability to provide strong operational performance at an attractive price point, implementing ZeroTier Edge into customers’ networks doesn’t require a heavy investment. The product is currently going through the crowdfunding process and has already gained over 90% of its target figure. The initial units are expected to start shipping in early 2018.

For more information on ZeroTier Edge and the opportunity to support the project, visit:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/zerotier-edge-open-source-enterprise-vpn-sd-wan#/

Comments are closed.