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Archive for the ‘Embedded Processors’ Category

April 30th, 2018

ARMADA 3720 SoC Enables Ground-Breaking Modular Router from CZ.NIC

By Maen Suleiman, Senior Software Product Line Manager at Marvell

Marvell ARMADA® embedded processors are part of another exciting networking solution for a crowdfunding project and are helping “power” the global open hardware and software engineering community as innovative new products are developed. CZ.NIC, an open source networking research team based in the Czech Republic, just placed its Turris MOX modular networking appliance on the Indiegogo® platform and has already obtained over $110,000 in financial backing.

MOX has a highly flexible modular arrangement. Central to this is a network processing module featuring a Marvell® ARMADA 3720 network processing system-on-chip (SoC). This powerful yet energy efficient 64-bit device includes dual Cortex®-A53 ARM® processor cores and an extensive array of high speed IOs (PCIe 2.0, 2.5 GbE, USB 3.0, etc.).

Figure 1: The MOX Solution from CZ.NIC

The MOX concept is simple to understand. Rather than having to procure a router with excessive features and resources that all add to the cost but actually prove to be superfluous, users can just buy a single MOX that can subsequently be extended into whatever form of network appliance a user needs. Attachment of additional modules means that specific functionality can be provided to meet exact user expectations. There is an Ethernet module that adds 4 GbE ports, a fiber module that adds fiber optic SFP connectivity, and an extension module that adds a mini PCIe connection. At a later stage, if requirements change, it is possible for that same MOX to be repurposed into a completely different appliance by adding appropriate modules.


                        Figure 2: The MOX Add-On Modules – Base, Extension, Ethernet and SFP

The MOX units run on Turris OS, an open source operating system built on top of the extremely popular OpenWrt® embedded Linux® distribution (as supported by Marvell’s ARMADA processors). This gives the appliance a great deal of flexibility, allowing it to execute a wide variety of different networking functions that enable it to operate as an email server, web server, firewall, etc. Additional MOX modules are already under development and will be available soon.

This project follows on CZ.NIC’s previous crowdfunding campaign using Marvell’s ARMADA SoC processing capabilities for the Turris Omnia high performance open source router – which gained huge public interest and raised 9x its original investment target. Turris MOX underlines the validity of the open source software ecosystem that has been built up around the ARMADA SoC to help customers bring their ideas to life.

Click here to learn more on this truly unique Indiegogo campaign.

 

February 22nd, 2018

Marvell to Demonstrate CyberTAN White Box Solution Incorporating the Marvell ARMADA 8040 SoC Running Telco Systems NFVTime Universal CPE OS at Mobile World Congress 2018

By Maen Suleiman, Senior Software Product Line Manager at Marvell

As more workloads are moving to the edge of the network, Marvell continues to advance technology that will enable the communication industry to benefit from the huge potential that network function virtualization (NFV) holds. At this year’s Mobile World Congress (Barcelona, 26th Feb to 1st Mar 2018), Marvell, along with some of its key technology collaborators, will be demonstrating a universal CPE (uCPE) solution that will enable telecom operators, service providers and enterprises to deploy needed virtual network functions (VNFs) to support their customers’ demands.

The ARMADA® 8040 uCPE solution, one of several ARMADA edge computing solutions to be introduced to the market, will be located at the Arm booth (Hall 6, Stand 6E30) and will run Telco Systems NFVTime uCPE operating system (OS) with two deployed off-the-shelf VNFs provided by 6WIND and Trend Micro, respectively, that enable virtual routing and security functionalities.  The CyberTAN white box solution is designed to bring significant improvements in both cost effectiveness and system power efficiency compared to traditional offerings while also maintaining the highest degrees of security.

CyberTAN white box solution incorporating Marvell ARMADA 8040 SoC

 

The CyberTAN white box platform is comprised of several key Marvell technologies that bring an integrated solution designed to enable significant hardware cost savings. The platform incorporates the power-efficient Marvell® ARMADA 8040 system-on-chip (SoC) based on the Arm Cortex®-A72 quad-core processor, with up to 2GHz CPU clock speed, and Marvell E6390x Link Street® Ethernet switch on-board. The Marvell Ethernet switch supports 10G uplink and 8 x 1GbE ports along with integrated PHYs, four of which are auto-media GbE ports (combo ports).

The CyberTAN white box benefits from the Marvell ARMADA 8040 processor’s rich feature set and robust software ecosystem, including:

  • both commercial and industrial grade offerings
  • dual 10G connectivity, 10G Crypto and IPSEC support
  • SBSA compliancy
  • Arm TrustZone support
  • broad software support from the following: UEFI, Linux, DPDK, ODP, OPTEE, Yocto, OpenWrt, CentOS and more

In addition, the uCPE platform supports Mini PCI Express (mPCIe) expansion slots that can enable Marvell advanced 11ac/11ax Wi-Fi or additional wired/wireless connectivity, up to 16GB DDR4 DIMM, 2 x M.2 SATA, one SATA and eMMC options for storage, SD and USB expansion slots for additional storage or other wired/wireless connectivity such as LTE.

At the Arm booth, Telco Systems will demonstrate its NFVTime uCPE operating system on the CyberTAN white box, with zero-touch provisioning (ZTP) feature. NFVTime is an intuitive NFVi-OS that facilitates the entire process of deploying VNFs onto the uCPE, and avoids the complex and frustrating management and orchestration activities normally associated with putting NFV-based services into action. The demonstration will include two main VNFs:

  • A 6WIND virtual router VNF based on 6WIND Turbo Router which provides high performance, ready-to-use virtual routing and firewall functionality; and
  • A Trend Micro security VNF based on Trend Micro’s Virtual Function Network Suite (VNFS) that offers elastic and high-performance network security functions which provide threat defense and enable more effective and faster protection.

Please contact your Marvell sales representative to arrange a meeting at Mobile World Congress or drop by the Arm booth (Hall 6, Stand 6E30) during the conference to see the uCPE solution in action.

February 5th, 2018

Marvell SoC Technology Underpins Powerful pfSense Secure Gateway

By Maen Suleiman, Senior Software Product Line Manager at Marvell

Marvell’s ground-breaking ARMADA® 38x processor series continues to see momentum in integration into new network and security designs. Most recently, the ARMADA 385 processor has been incorporated into Netgate’s new SG-3100 product offering.

Netgate’s objective with the SG-3100 was to bring to market an entry-level secure gateway solution that offered substantially more horsepower than competing products in the same price range. The target criteria for the new design were:

  • Significantly greater performance
  • A broader range of functionality
  • Flexible configuration to suit customers’ particular needs

Marvell’s engineering team was pleased to collaborate with Netgate on this ambitious project.

Figure 1: Netgate SG-3100 powered by Marvell ARMADA 385 Processor

 

The SG-3100 exhibits a high degree of flexibility and can be employed as a security firewall, LAN, router or WAN router, or VPN solution. It can also act as a DHCP server or DNS server, as well as providing intrusion detection system (IDS) and intrusion prevention system (IPS) capabilities. This extremely configurable unit comes equipped with 8GB eMMC Flash data storage or two m.2 SATA-based solid-state drives (SSDs), and also supports the LTE standard. Thanks to its Marvell® 88E6141 4-port switched LAN interface, the compact, cost-effective product easily facilitates bridging multiple wired and wireless networks.

Several factors drove Netgate’s decision to use Marvell’s ARMADA 385, starting with the ARMADA 38x ecosystem, which includes the ARMADA 38x ClearFog community board from SolidRun, and the ARMADA 38x FreeBSD port developed by Semihalf. Additionally, an increasing number of pfSense users had requested access to a board that provided three Ethernet ports, especially for dual-WAN operation. The ARMADA 385’s extensive embedded connectivity satisfies this need.

Based on the Arm® Cortex®-A9 topology, the ARMADA 385 system-on-chip (SoC) at the heart of the SG-3100 provides highly effective, dual-core processing capabilities. The SoC has a total of three Ethernet ports – two that support 1 Gbps data rates and a third capable of supporting either 2.5 Gbps or 1 Gbps. In the SG-3100 design, the ARMADA 385 is accompanied by Marvell’s 88E6141 multi-port Ethernet switch, which also supports 2.5Gbps operation through one of its ports.

The Netgate SG-3100 runs at 1.6GHz and is ideal for small offices and domestic environments. And thanks to the constituent IC technology, this solution packs serious throughput at a very compelling price.

 

January 23rd, 2018

New Brew: Latest MACCHIATObin Community Boards are Able to Address Much Wider Scope of Developer Requirements

By Maen Suleiman, Senior Software Product Line Manager at Marvell

Following the success of the MACCHIATObin® development platform, which was released back in the spring, Marvell and technology partner SolidRun have now announced the next stage in the progression of this hardware offering. After drawing on the customer feedback received, a series of enhancements to the original concept have subsequently been made, so that these mini-ITX boards are much more optimized for meeting the requirements of engineers.

Marvell and SolidRun announce the availability of two new MACCHIATObin products that will supersede the previous release. They are the MACCHIATObin Single Shot and the MACCHIATObin Double Shot boards.

As before, these mini-ITX format networking community boards both feature the powerful processing capabilities of Marvell’s ARMADA® 8040 system-on-chip (SoC) and stay true to the original objective of bringing an affordable Arm-based development resource with elevated performance to the market. However, now engineers have a choice in terms of how much supporting functionality comes with it – thus making the platform even more attractive and helping to reach a much wider audience.

Figure 1: MACCHIATObin Single Shot (left) and MACCHIATObin Double Shot (right)

The more streamlined MACCHIATObin Single Shot option presents an entry level board that should appeal to engineers with budgetary constraints. This has a much lower price tag than the original board, coming in at just $199. It comes with two 10G SFP+ connectors without the option of two 10G copper connectors, and also doesn’t come with default DDR4 DIMM as its predecessor, but still has a robust 1.6GHz processing speed.

This is complemented by the higher performance MACCHIATObin Double Shot. This unleashes the full 2GHz of processing capacity that can be derived from the ARMADA 8040, which relies on a 64-bit quad-core Arm Cortex-A72 processor core. 4GB of DDR4 DIMM is included. At only $399 it represents great value for money – costing only slightly more than the original, but with extra features and stronger operational capabilities being delivered. It comes with additional accessories that are not in the Single Shot package – including a power cable and a microUSB-to-USB cable.

Both the Single Shot and Double Shot versions incorporate heatsink and fan mechanisms in order to ensure that better reliability is maintained through more effective thermal management. The fan has an airflow of 6.7 cubic feet per minute (CFM) with low noise operation. A number of layout changes have been implemented upon the original design to better utilize the available space and to make the board more convenient for those using it. For example, the SD card slot has been moved to make it more accessible and likewise the SATA connectors are now better positioned, allowing easier connection of multiple cables. The micro USB socket has also been relocated to aid engineers.

A 3-pin UART header has been added to the console UART (working in parallel with FTDI USB-to-UART interface IC). This means that developers now have an additional connectivity option that they can utilize, making the MACCHIATObin community board more suitable for deployment in remote locations or where it needs to interface with legacy equipment (that do not have a USB port). The DIP switches have been replaced with jumpers, which again gives the boards greater versatility. The JTAG connector is not assembled by default, the PCI Express (PCIe) x4 slot has been replaced with an open PCIx4 slot so that it can accommodate a wider variety of different board options (like x8 and x16, as well as x4 PCIe) such as graphics processor cards, etc. to be connected. Furthermore, the fixed LED emitter has been replaced by one that is general purpose input/output (GPIO) controlled, thereby enabling operational activity to be indicated.

The fact that these units have the same form factor as the original, means that they offer a like-for-like replacement for the previous model of the MACCHIATObin board. Therefore existing designs that are already using this board can be upgraded to the higher performance MACCHIATObin Double Shot version or conversely scaled down to the MACCHIATObin Single Shot in order to reduce the associated costs.

Together the MACCHIATObin Double Shot and Single Shot boards show that the team at Marvell are always listening to our customer base and responding to their needs. Learning from the first MACCHIATObin release, we have been able to make significant refinements, and consequently develop two new very distinct product offerings. One that addresses engineers that are working to a tight budget, for which the previous board would not have been viable, and the other for engineers that want to boost performance levels.

 

 

 

 

January 10th, 2018

Marvell Demonstrates Edge Computing by Extending Google Cloud to the Network Edge with Pixeom Edge Platform at CES 2018

By Maen Suleiman, Senior Software Product Line Manager at Marvell

The adoption of multi-gigabit networks and planned roll-out of next generation 5G networks will continue to create greater available network bandwidth as more and more computing and storage services get funneled to the cloud. Increasingly, applications running on IoT and mobile devices connected to the network are becoming more intelligent and compute-intensive. However, with so many resources being channeled to the cloud, there is strain on today’s networks.

Instead of following a conventional cloud centralized model, next generation architecture will require a much greater proportion of its intelligence to be distributed throughout the network infrastructure. High performance computing hardware (accompanied by the relevant software), will need to be located at the edge of the network. A distributed model of operation should provide the needed compute and security functionality required for edge devices, enable compelling real-time services and overcome inherent latency issues for applications like automotive, virtual reality and industrial computing. With these applications, analytics of high resolution video and audio content is also needed.

Through use of its high performance ARMADA® embedded processors, Marvell is able to demonstrate a highly effective solution that will facilitate edge computing implementation on the Marvell MACCHIATObin™ community board using the ARMADA 8040 system on chip (SoC). At CES® 2018, Marvell and Pixeom teams will be demonstrating a fully effective, but not costly, edge computing system using the Marvell MACCHIATObin community board in conjunction with the Pixeom Edge Platform to extend functionality of Google Cloud Platform™ services at the edge of the network. The Marvell MACCHIATObin community board will run Pixeom Edge Platform software that is able to extend the cloud capabilities by orchestrating and running Docker container-based micro-services on the Marvell MACCHIATObin community board.

Currently, the transmission of data-heavy, high resolution video content to the cloud for analysis purposes places a lot of strain on network infrastructure, proving to be both resource-intensive and also expensive. Using Marvell’s MACCHIATObin hardware as a basis, Pixeom will demonstrate its container-based edge computing solution which provides video analytics capabilities at the network edge. This unique combination of hardware and software provides a highly optimized and straightforward way to enable more processing and storage resources to be situated at the edge of the network. The technology can significantly increase operational efficiency levels and reduce latency.

The Marvell and Pixeom demonstration deploys Google TensorFlow™ micro-services at the network edge to enable a variety of different key functions, including object detection, facial recognition, text reading (for name badges, license plates, etc.) and intelligent notifications (for security/safety alerts). This technology encompasses the full scope of potential applications, covering everything from video surveillance and autonomous vehicles, right through to smart retail and artificial intelligence. Pixeom offers a complete edge computing solution, enabling cloud service providers to package, deploy, and orchestrate containerized applications at scale, running on premise “Edge IoT Cores.” To accelerate development, Cores come with built-in machine learning, FaaS, data processing, messaging, API management, analytics, offloading capabilities to Google Cloud, and more.

The MACCHIATObin community board is using Marvell’s ARMADA 8040 processor and has a 64-bit ARMv8 quad-core processor core (running at up to 2.0GHZ), and supports up to 16GB of DDR4 memory and a wide array of different I/Os. Through use of Linux® on the Marvell MACCHIATObin board, the multifaceted Pixeom Edge IoT platform can facilitate implementation of edge computing servers (or cloudlets) at the periphery of the cloud network. Marvell will be able to show the power of this popular hardware platform to run advanced machine learning, data processing, and IoT functions as part of Pixeom’s demo. The role-based access features of the Pixeom Edge IoT platform also mean that developers situated in different locations can collaborate with one another in order to create compelling edge computing implementations. Pixeom supplies all the edge computing support needed to allow Marvell embedded processors users to establish their own edge-based applications, thus offloading operations from the center of the network.

Marvell will also be demonstrating the compatibility of its technology with the Google Cloud platform, which enables the management and analysis of deployed edge computing resources at scale. Here, once again the MACCHIATObin board provides the hardware foundation needed by engineers, supplying them with all the processing, memory and connectivity required.

Those visiting Marvell’s suite at CES (Venetian, Level 3 – Murano 3304, 9th-12th January 2018, Las Vegas) will be able to see a series of different demonstrations of the MACCHIATObin community board running cloud workloads at the network edge. Make sure you come by!

January 9th, 2018

Processing the World’s Data

By Marvell, PR Team

The data requirements of modern society are escalating at a relentless pace with new paradigms changing the way data is processed. The rapidly rising volume of data that is now being uploaded and downloaded from the cloud (such as HD video or equally data-intensive immersive gaming content) is putting incredible strain onto existing network infrastructure – testing both the bandwidth and data density speeds that are supported.

The onset of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will require access to considerable processing power, but at the same time mandate extremely low latency levels, to prevent lag effects. The widespread roll-out of IoT infrastructure, connected cars, robotics and industrial automation systems, to name a few, will also have uncompromising processing and latency demands that are simply not in line with current network architectures.

Transporting data from the network edge back to centralized servers (and vice versa) takes time, and hence adds an unacceptable level of latency to certain applications. All this will mean that fundamental changes need to be made. Rather than having all the processing resources located at the center of the network, a more distributed model is going to be needed in the future. Though the role of centralized servers will unquestionably still be important, this will be complemented by remote servers that are located at the edge of the network – thus making them closer to the users themselves, and thereby mitigating latency issues which is critical for time-sensitive data.

The figures on this speak for themselves. It is estimated that by 2020, approximately 45% of fog computing-generated data will be stored, processed, analyzed and subsequently acted upon either close to or at the edge of the network. Running in tandem with this, data centers will look to start utilizing in-storage processing. Here, in order to alleviate CPU congestion levels and mitigate network latency, data processing resources are going to start being placed closer to the storage drive. This, as a result, will dispense with the need to continuously transfer large quantities of data to and from storage reserves so that it can be processed, with processing tasks instead taking place inside the storage controller.

The transition from traditional data centers to edge-based computing, along with the onset of in-storage processing, will call for a new breed of processor devices. In addition to delivering the operational performance that high throughput, low latency applications will require, these devices will also need to meet the power, cost and space constraints that are going to characterize edge deployment.

Through the highly advanced portfolio of ARMADA® Arm-based multi-core embedded processors, Marvell has been able to supply the industry with processing solutions that can help engineers in facing the challenges that have just been outlined. These ICs combine high levels of integration, elevated performance and low power operation. Using ARMADA as a basis, the company has worked with technology partners to co-develop the MACCHIATObin™ and ESPRESSObin® community boards. The Marvell community boards, which each use 64-bit ARMADA processors, bring together a high-performance single-board computing platform and open source software for developers and designers working with a host of networking, storage and connectivity applications. They give users both the raw processing capabilities and the extensive array of connectivity options needed to develop proprietary edge computing applications from the ground up.

Incorporating a total of 6 MACCHIATObin boards plus a Marvell high density Prestera DX 14 port, 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch IC, the NFV PicoPod from PicoCluster is another prime example of ARMADA technology in action. This ultra-compact unit provides engineers with a highly cost effective and energy efficient platform upon which they can implement their own virtualized network applications. Fully compliant with the OPNFV Pharos specification, it opens up the benefits of NFV technology to a much broader cross section of potential customers, allowing everyone from the engineering teams in large enterprises all the way down to engineers who are working solo to rapidly develop, verify and deploy virtual network functions (VNFs) – effectively providing them with their own ‘datacenter on desktop’.

The combination of Marvell IoT enterprise edge gateway technology with the Google Cloud IoT Core platform is another way via which greater intelligence is being placed at the network periphery. The upshot of this will be that the estimated tens of billions of connected IoT nodes that will be installed over the course of the coming years can be managed in the most operationally efficient manner, offloading much of the workload from the core network’s processing capabilities and only utilizing them when it is completely necessary.

Check out www.marvell.com to learn more about how Marvell is processing the world’s data.

 

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#/