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Archive for the ‘Community Boards’ Category

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#/

October 26th, 2017

Marvell Demonstrates Powerful Security Software & Implementation Support at OpenWrt Summit via Collaboration with Sentinel & Sartura

By Maen Suleiman, Senior Software Product Line Manager at Marvell

Thanks to its collaboration with leading players in the OpenWrt and security space, Marvell will be able to show those attending the OpenWrt Summit (Prague, Czech Republic, 26-27th October) new beneficial developments with regard to its Marvell ARMADA® multi-core processors. In collaboration with contributors Sartura and Sentinel, these developments will be demonstrated on Marvell’s portfolio of networking community boards that support the 64-bit Arm® based Marvell ARMADA processor devices, by running the increasingly popular and highly versatile OpenWrt operating system, plus the latest advances in security software. We expect these new offerings will assist engineers in mitigating the major challenges they face when constructing next-generation customer-premises equipment (CPE) and uCPE platforms.

On display at the event at both the Sentinel and Sartura booths will be examples of the Marvell MACCHIATObin™ board (with a quad-core ARMADA 8040 that can deliver up to 2GHz operation) and the Marvell ESPRESSObin™ board (with a dual-core ARMADA 3700 lower power processor running at 1.2GHz).

The boards located at the Sartura booth will demonstrate the open source OpenWrt offering of the Marvell MACCHIATObin/ESPRESSObin platforms and will show how engineers can benefit from this company’s OpenWrt integration capabilities. The capabilities have proven invaluable in helping engineers expedite their development projects more quickly and allow the full realization of initial goals set for such projects. The Sartura team can take engineers’ original CPE designs incorporating ARMADA and provide production level software needed for inclusion in end products.

Marvell will also have MACCHIATObin/ESPRESSObin boards demonstrated at the Sentinel booth. These will feature highly optimized security software. Using this security software, companies looking to employ ARMADA based hardware in their designs will be able to ensure that they have ample protection against the threat posed by malware and harmful files – like WannaCry and Nyetya ransomware, as well as Petya malware, etc. This protection relies upon Sentinel’s File Validation Service (FVS), which inspects all HTTP, POP and IMAP files as they pass through the device toward the client. Any files deemed to be malicious are then blocked. This security technology is very well suited to CPE networking infrastructure and edge computing, as well as IoT deployments. Sentinel’s FVS technology can also be implemented on vCPE/uCPE as a security virtual network function (VNF), in addition to native implementation over physical CPEs – providing similar protection levels due to its extremely lightweight architecture and very low latency. FVS is responsible for identifying download requests and subsequently analyzing the data being downloaded. This software package can run on all Linux-based embedded operating systems for CPE and NFV devices which meet minimum hardware requirements and offer the necessary features.

Through collaborations such as those described above, Marvell is building an extensive ecosystem around its ARMADA products. As a result, Marvell will be able to support future development of secure, high performance CPE and uCPE/vCPE systems that exhibit much greater differentiation.

October 11th, 2017

Bringing IoT intelligence to the enterprise edge by supporting Google Cloud IoT Core Public Beta on ESPRESSObin and MACCHIATObin community platforms

By Aviad Enav Zagha, Sr. Director Embedded Processors Product Line Manager, Networking Group at Marvell

Though the projections made by market analysts still differ to a considerable degree, there is little doubt about the huge future potential that implementation of Internet of Things (IoT) technology has within an enterprise context. It is destined to lead to billions of connected devices being in operation, all sending captured data back to the cloud, from which analysis can be undertaken or actions initiated. This will make existing business/industrial/metrology processes more streamlined and allow a variety of new services to be delivered.

With large numbers of IoT devices to deal with in any given enterprise network, the challenges of efficiently and economically managing them all without any latency issues, and ensuring that elevated levels of security are upheld, are going to prove daunting. In order to put the least possible strain on cloud-based resources, we believe the best approach is to divest some intelligence outside the core and place it at the enterprise edge, rather than following a purely centralized model. This arrangement places computing functionality much nearer to where the data is being acquired and makes a response to it considerably easier. IoT devices will then have a local edge hub that can reduce the overhead of real-time communication over the network. Rather than relying on cloud servers far away from the connected devices to take care of the ‘heavy lifting’, these activities can be done closer to home. Deterministic operation is maintained due to lower latency, bandwidth is conserved (thus saving money), and the likelihood of data corruption or security breaches is dramatically reduced.

Sensors and data collectors in the enterprise, industrial and smart city segments are expected to generate more than 1GB per day of information, some needing a response within a matter of seconds. Therefore, in order for the network to accommodate the large amount of data, computing functionalities will migrate from the cloud to the network edge, forming a new market of edge computing.

In order to accelerate the widespread propagation of IoT technology within the enterprise environment, Marvell now supports the multifaceted Google Cloud IoT Core platform. Cloud IoT Core is a fully managed service mechanism through which the management and secure connection of devices can be accomplished on the large scales that will be characteristic of most IoT deployments.

Through its IoT enterprise edge gateway technology, Marvell is able to provide the necessary networking and compute capabilities required (as well as the prospect of localized storage) to act as mediator between the connected devices within the network and the related cloud functions. By providing the control element needed, as well as collecting real-time data from IoT devices, the IoT enterprise gateway technology serves as a key consolidation point for interfacing with the cloud and also has the ability to temporarily control managed devices if an event occurs that makes cloud services unavailable. In addition, the IoT enterprise gateway can perform the role of a proxy manager for lightweight, rudimentary IoT devices that (in order to keep power consumption and unit cost down) may not possess any intelligence. Through the introduction of advanced ARM®-based community platforms, Marvell is able to facilitate enterprise implementations using Cloud IoT Core. The recently announced Marvell MACCHIATObin™ and Marvell ESPRESSObin™ community boards support open source applications, local storage and networking facilities. At the heart of each of these boards is Marvell’s high performance ARMADA® system-on-chip (SoC) that supports Google Cloud IoT Core Public Beta.

Via Cloud IoT Core, along with other related Google Cloud services (including Pub/Sub, Dataflow, Bigtable, BigQuery, Data Studio), enterprises can benefit from an all-encompassing IoT solution that addresses the collection, processing, evaluation and visualization of real-time data in a highly efficient manner. Cloud IoT Core features certificate-based authentication and transport layer security (TLS), plus an array of sophisticated analytical functions.

Over time, the enterprise edge is going to become more intelligent. Consequently, mediation between IoT devices and the cloud will be needed, as will cost-effective processing and management. With the combination of Marvell’s proprietary IoT gateway technology and Google Cloud IoT Core, it is now possible to migrate a portion of network intelligence to the enterprise edge, leading to various major operational advantages.

Please visit MACCHIATObin Wiki and ESPRESSObin Wiki for instructions on how to connect to Google’s Cloud IoT Core Public Beta platform.

June 17th, 2017

Marvell Technology Instrumental in Ground-Breaking New Open Source NAS Solution

By Maen Suleiman, Senior Software Product Line Manager at Marvell

The quantity of data storage that each individual now expects to be able to have access to has ramped up dramatically over the course of the last few years. This has been predominantly fueled by society’s ravenous hunger for various forms of multimedia entertainment and more immersive gaming, plus our growing obsession with taking photos or videos of all manner of things that we experience during an average day.

The emergence of the ‘connected home’ phenomenon, along with greater use of wearable technology and the enhanced functionality being incorporated into each new generation of smartphone handset have all contributed to our increasingly data oriented lives. As a result each of us is generating, downloading and transferring larger amounts of data-heavy content than would have been even conceivable a relatively short while in the past. For example, market research firm InfoTrends has estimated that consumers worldwide will be responsible for taking over 1.2 trillion new photos during 2017 (that is more than double the figure from 5 years ago). Furthermore, there are certainly no indications that the dynamics that are driving this will weaken and everything will start to slow down. On the contrary, it is likely that the pace will only continue to accelerate.

If individuals are to keep on amassing personal data at current rates, then it is clear that they will need access to a new form of flexible storage solution that is up to the job. In a report compiled by industry analysts at Technavio, the global consumer network attached storage (NAS) market is predicted to grow accordingly – witnessing an impressive 11% compound annual growth between now and the end of this decade.

Though, it must be acknowledged, that we are shifting an increasing proportion of our overall data storage needs to the cloud, the synching of large media files for use in the home environments can often prove to be impractical, because of latency issues arising. Also there are serious security issues associated with relying on cloud-based storage when it comes to keeping certain personal data and these need to be given due consideration.

Start-up company Kobol has recently initiated a crowdfunding campaign to garner financial backing for its Helios4 offering. The first of its kind – this is an open source, open hardware NAS solution that will allow the storing and sharing of music, photos and movies through connection to the user’s home network. It presents consumers with a secure, flexible and rapidly accessible data storage reserve with a capacity of up to 40 TeraBytes (which equates to around 700,000 hours of music, 20,000 hours of movies or 12 million photos).

Helios4 has small dimensions. Built-in RAID redundancy is included in order for ongoing reliability to be assured. This means that even if one of the 4 hard drives (each delivering 10 TeraBytes) were to crash, the user’s content would remain safely stored, as the data is mirrored onto another of its drives. The result is a compact, cost effective and energy saving storage solution, which acts like a ‘personal cloud’.

 

Figure 1: Schematic showing the interface structure of Helios4 powered by ARMADA 388 SoC

Figure 1: Schematic showing the interface structure of Helios4 powered by ARMADA
388 SoC

 

Figure 2: The component parts that make up the Helios4 kit

Figure 2: The component parts that make up the Helios4 kit

Inspired by the open hardware, collaborative philosophy, Helios4 can be supplied as a simple to assemble kit that engineers can then assemble themselves. Otherwise, for those with less engineering experience it comes as a straightforward to use out-of-the-box solution. It offers a high degree of flexibility and a broad array of different connectivity options.

At the heart of the Helios4’s design is a sophisticated ARMADA 388 32-bit ARM-based system-on-chip (SoC) from Marvell, which combines high performance benchmarks with power frugal operation. Based on 28nm node, low power semiconductor technology, its dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processing resource is capable of running at speeds of up to 1.8 GHz. USB 3.0 SuperSpeed and SATA 3.0 ports are included so that elevated connectivity levels can be supported. Cryptographic mechanisms are also integrated to maintain superior system security.

By clicking on the following link you can learn more about the Helios4 Kickstarter campaign. For those interested in getting involved, the deadline to make a contribution is 19th June.

 

June 7th, 2017

Community Platform Allows Easy Adoption of ARM 64-bit in Data Center, Networking and Storage Ecosystems

By Maen Suleiman, Senior Software Product Line Manager at Marvell

Marvell MACCHIATObin community board is first-of-its-kind, high-end ARM 64-bit networking and storage community board

The increasing availability of high-speed internet services is connecting people in novel and often surprising ways, and creating a raft of applications for data centers. Cloud computing, Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT) are all starting to play a major role within the industry.

These opportunities call for innovative solutions to handle the challenges they present, many of which have not been encountered before in IT. The industry is answering that call through technologies and concepts such as software defined networking (SDN), network function virtualization (NFV) and distributed storage. Making the most of these technologies and unleashing the potential of the new applications requires a collaborative approach. The distributed nature and complexity of the solutions calls for input from many different market participants.

A key way to foster such collaboration is through open-source ecosystems. The rise of Linux has demonstrated the effectiveness of such ecosystems and has helped steer the industry towards adopting open-source solutions. (Examples: AT&T Runs Open Source White Box Switch in its Live Network, SnapRoute and Dell EMC to Help Advance Linux Foundation’s OpenSwitch Project, Nokia launches AirFrame Data Center for the Open Platform NFV community)

Communities have come together through Linux to provide additional value for the ecosystem. One example is the Linux Foundation Organization which currently sponsors more than 50 open source projects. Its activities cover various parts of the industry from IoT ( IoTivity , EdgeX Foundry ) to full NFV solutions, such as the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV). This is something that would have been hard to conceive even a couple of years ago without the wide market acceptance of open-source communities and solutions.

Although there are numerous important open-source software projects for data-center applications, the hardware on which to run them and evaluate solutions has been in short supply. There are many ARM® development boards that have been developed and manufactured, but they primarily focus on simple applications.

All these open source software ecosystems require a development platform that can provide a high-performance central processing unit (CPU), high-speed network connectivity and large memory support. But they also need to be accessible and affordable to ARM developers. Marvell MACCHIATObin® is the first ARM 64-bit community platform for open-source software communities that provides solutions for, among others, SDN, NFV and Distributed Storage.

A high-performance ARM 64-bit community platform

A high-performance ARM 64-bit community platform

The Marvell MACCHIATObin community board is a mini-ITX form-factor ARM 64-bit network and storage oriented community platform. It is based on the Marvell hyperscale SBSA-compliant ARMADA® 8040 system on chip (SoC) that features four high-performance Cortex®-A72 ARM 64-bit CPUs. ARM Cortex-A72 CPU is the latest and most powerful ARM 64-bit CPU available and supports virtualization, an increasingly important aspect for data center applications.

Together with the quad-core platform, the ARMADA 8040 SoC provides two 10G Ethernet interfaces, three SATA 3.0 interfaces and support for up to 16GB of DDR4 memory to handle highly complex applications. This power does not come at the cost of affordability: the Marvell MACCHIATObin community board is priced at $349. As a result, the Marvell MACCHIATObin community board is the first affordable high-performance ARM 64-bit networking and storage community platform of its kind.

CPU

SolidRun (https://www.solid-run.com/) started shipping the Marvell MACCHIATObin community board in March 2017, providing an early access of the hardware to open-source communities.

 The Marvell MACCHIATObin community board is easy to deploy. It uses the compact mini-ITX form factor, enabling developers to purchase one of the many cases based on the popular standard mini-ITX case to meet their requirements. The ARMADA 8040 SoC itself is SBSA-compliant (http://infocenter.arm.com/help/topic/com.arm.doc.den0029/) to offer unified extensible firmware interface (UEFI) support.

The ARMADA 8040 SoC includes an advanced network packet processor that supports features such as parsing, classification, QoS mapping, shaping and metering. In addition, the SoC provides two security engines that can perform full IPSEC, DTL and other protocol-offload functions at 10G rates. To handle high-performance RAID 5/6 support, the ARMADA 8040 SoC employs high-speed DMA and XOR engines.

For hardware expansion, the Marvell MACCHIATObin community board provides one PCIex4 3.0 slot and a USB3.0 host connector. For non-volatile storage, options include a built-in eMMC device and a micro-SD card connector. Mass storage is available through three SATA 3.0 connectors. For debug, developers can access the board’s processors through a choice of a virtual UART running over the microUSB connector, 20-pin connector for JTAG access or two UART headers. The Marvell MACCHIATObin community board technical specifications can be found here: MACCHIATObin Specification.

Open source software enables advanced applications

The Marvell MACCHIATObin community board comes with rich open source software that includes ARM Trusted Firmware (ATF), U-Boot, UEFI, Linux Kernel, Yocto, OpenWrt, OpenDataPlane (ODP) , Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK), netmap and others; many of the Marvell MACCHIATObin open source software core components are available at: https://github.com/orgs/MarvellEmbeddedProcessors/.

To provide the Marvell MACCHIATObin community board with ready-made support for the open-source platforms used at the edge and data centers for SDN, NFV and similar applications, standard operating systems like Suse Linux Enterprise, CentOS, Ubuntu and others should boot and run seamlessly on the Marvell MACCHIATObin community board.

As the ARMADA 8040 SoC is SBSA compliant and supports UEFI with ACPI, along with Marvell’s upstreaming of Linux kernel support, standard operating systems can be enabled on the Marvell MACCHIATObin community board without the need of special porting.

On top of this core software, a wide variety of ecosystem applications needed for the data center and edge applications can be assembled.

For example, using the ARMADA 8040 SoC high-speed networking and security engine will enable the kernel netdev community to develop and maintain features such as XDP or other kernel network features on ARM 64-bit platforms. The ARMADA 8040 SoC security engine will enable many other Linux kernel open-source communities to implement new offloads.

Thanks to the virtualization support available on the ARM Cortex A72 processors, virtualization technology projects such as KVM and XEN can be enabled on the platform; container technologies like LXC  and Docker can also be enabled to maximize data center flexibility and enable a virtual CPE ecosystem where the Marvell MACCHIATObin community board can be used to develop edge applications on a 64-bit ARM platform.

In addition to the mainline Linux kernel, Marvell is upstreaming U-Boot and UEFI, and is set to upstream and open the Marvell MACCHIATObin ODP and DPDK support. This makes the Marvell MACCHIATObin board an ideal community platform for both communities, and will open the door to related communities who have based their ecosystems on ODP or DPDK. These may be user-space network-stack communities such as OpenFastPath and FD.io or virtual switching technologies that can make use of both the ARMADA 8040 SoC virtualization support and networking capabilities such as Open vSwitch (OVS) or Vector Packet Processing (VPP).  Similar to ODP and DPDK, Marvell MACCHIATObin netmap support can enable VALE virtual switching technology or security ecosystem such as pfsense.

CPU2

 

Thanks to its hardware features and upstreamed software support, the Marvell MACCHIATObin community board is not limited to data center SDN and NFV applications. It is highly suited as a development platform for network and security products and applications such as network routers, security appliances, IoT gateways, industrial computing, home customer-provided equipment (CPE) platforms and wireless backhaul controllers; a new level of scalable and modular solutions can be further achieved when combining the Marvell MACCHIATObin community board with Marvell switches and PHY products.

Summary

The Marvell MACCHIATObin is the first of its kind: a high-performance, cost-effective networking community platform. The board supports a rich software ecosystem and has made available high-performance, high-speed networking ARM 64-bit community platforms at a price that is affordable for the majority of ARM developers, software vendors and other interested companies. It makes ARM 64-bit far more accessible than ever before for developers of solutions for use in data centers, networking and storage.

 

May 23rd, 2017

Marvell MACCHIATObin Community Board Now Shipping

By Maen Suleiman, Senior Software Product Line Manager at Marvell

First-of-its-kind community platform makes ARM-64bit accessible for data center, networking and storage solutions developers

As network infrastructure continues to transition to Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), the industry is in great need of cost-optimized hardware platforms coupled with robust software support for the development of a variety of networking, security and storage solutions. The answer is finally here!

Now, with the shipping of the Marvell MACCHIATObin™ community board, developers and companies have access to a high-performance, affordable ARM®-based platform with the required technologies such as an ARMv8 64bit CPU, virtualization, high-speed networking and security accelerators, and the added benefit of open source software. SolidRun started shipping the Marvell MACCHIATObin community board in March 2017, providing an early access of the hardware to open-source communities.

MacchiatobinDiagram_vFNL
Click image to enlarge

 

The Marvell MACCHIATObin community board is a mini-ITX form-factor ARMv8 64bit network- and storage-oriented community platform. It is based on the Marvell® hyperscale SBSA-compliant ARMADA® 8040 system on chip (SoC) (http://www.marvell.com/embedded-processors/armada-80xx/) that features quad-core high-performance Cortex®-A72 ARM 64bit CPUs

Together with the quad-core Cortex-A72 ARM64bit CPUs, the Marvell MACCHIATObin community board provides two 10G Ethernet interfaces, three SATA 3.0 interfaces and support for up to 16GB of DDR4 memory to handle higher performance data center applications. This power does not come at the cost of affordability: the Marvell MACCHIATObin community board is priced at $349. As a result, it is the first affordable high-performance ARM 64bit networking and storage community platform of its kind.

The Marvell MACCHIATObin community board is easy to deploy. It uses the compact mini-ITX form factor enabling developers and companies to purchase one of the many cases based on the popular standard mini-ITX case to meet their requirements. The ARMADA 8040 SoC itself is SBSA- compliant to offer unified extensible firmware interface (UEFI) support. You can find the full specification at: http://wiki.macchiatobin.net/tiki-index.php?page=About+MACCHIATObin.

To provide the Marvell MACCHIATObin community board with ready-made support for the open-source platforms used in SDN, NFV and similar applications, Marvell is upstreaming MACCHIATObin software support to the Linux kernel, U-Boot and UEFI, and is set to upstream and open the Marvell MACCHIATObin community board for ODP and DPDK support.

In addition to upstreaming the MACCHIATObin software support, Marvell added MACCHIATObin support to the ARMADA 8040 SDK and plans to make the ARMADA 8040 SDK publicly available. Many of the ARMADA 8040 SDK components are available at: https://github.com/orgs/MarvellEmbeddedProcessors/.

For more information about the many innovative features of the Marvell MACCHIATObin community board, please visit: http://wiki.macchiatobin.net.  To place an order for the Marvell MACCHIATObin community board, please go to: http://macchiatobin.net/.