To the Edge and Beyond: Resistance is Futile

Author: Craig Stevens

Just like Gene Roddenberry’s science fiction series “Star Trek” where the cyborg race the “Borg” subsumed all other races with the tag line “resistance is futile”, programmable fabrics are fast becoming the way of the future and whether we consume them underneath a more traditional full stack router or more directly using modern day programmable fabric controllers they are set to become a part of the networking fabric.

Programmable fabrics have been predicted to revolutionise the network space for quite some time now, however we’re now seeing several key drivers that look like making this technology a reality sooner rather than later.

There are 4 major use cases:

  1. Next Generation Network Fabric: providing a traffic engineered, multi-tenanted and scalable network fabric that doesn’t suffer from the problems with todays mixed overlay/underlay fabrics.
  2. 5G and Edge: converging and offloading fixed and wireless services at the edge and in the process reducing latency, jitter, power and space and freeing up server cores for new edge applications.
  3. Telemetry & Autonomous networks: using in-band telemetry to drive more consistent and intelligent forwarding decisions in the fabric.
  4. Automation: enabling CI/CD pipelines to roll network changes into production more quickly, reliably and efficiently.

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