Barefoot Networks, which makes the Tofino programmable switch ASIC, has released P4 Studio, a software development environment (SDE) designed to make it easier for Barefoot customers to program Tofino and write custom functions and features.
P4 Studio is based on P4, an open-source language for programming network devices. P4 Studio encompasses a suite of eight tools.
Key tools include out-of-the box switch applications, a revised compiler, and modeling and simulation tools, among others.
P4 Studio includes switch.P4, a production-ready switching pipeline that supports L2 and L3 switching, IPv4 and V6, MPLS, segment routing, and more. The goal is to let customers get core switch functionality out of the box.
Note that these applications aren’t new; switch.P4 has been available for some time, but P4 Studio includes switch.P4 written in P-16, the latest version of the P4 language.
New developer tools include P4 Insight. P4 Insight is a visualization tool that can show developers how a P4 program gets laid out on the hardware and see where tables are placed at which stage on the ASIC. The goal is to help developers optimize the application before running it.
P4 Studio also includes Target Simulation Model. This isn’t a new tool, but it’s now bundled in the SDE. Target Simulation Model creates a software-based, register-accurate version of the ASIC so developers can prototype an application, or compare different versions of a program to see how the changes might affect chip utilization.
Other features of P4 Studio include a revised compiler. Barefoot says the revisions enable faster compilation time, and improved logging and error-checking. An abstraction interface is also included, which is designed to help developers abstract lower-level hardware constructs to make them accessible via APIs to a control plane.
A complete list of features is available in the press release.
Customers can get P4 Studio from Barefoot with a software license agreement and by signing an NDA. Most features in P4 Studio are free, but customers who want advanced capabilities in the P4 Insight visualization tool will have to pay a license fee.
P4 Studio is available now.