Interview with Siama CTO on GENEM-C 100G Network Test Application
Marcus: Communication service providers, including telcos, are moving to 100 gigabit ethernet and onwards to even terabit. But at these speeds the proprietary test equipment usually required to deploy and maintain these networks is expensive. This has become a barrier to getting this equipment installed in multiple points on the network.
That’s where Siama Systems and BittWare come in. Siama has deployed 10-gig test equipment around the world that runs their GENEM-X software, but today we’re talking about the next generation: GENEM-C, which enables 100 gig, but is built on BittWare’s TeraBox servers and FPGA cards.
With me is Siama co-founder and CTO Marco Mascitto to give us the details. Thanks for joining us!
Thanks for having me Marcus.
Marco, let’s start with the problem these CSPs are facing as they move to 100 gig and even onwards.
Marco: As you know, communication service providers deploy network test appliances throughout the network at strategic locations to be able to monitor performance and troubleshoot the network.
Now, as network services are growing or increasing in rate from 10 gig to 25, 100 gig—even 400 gig in some cases—you can see how the capacity of the network is going to expand but the cost associated with those network test appliances makes it cost prohibitive to deploy them throughout the network at central offices and pop sites.
To be able to address this Siama systems and BittWare have partnered to change the paradigm. Siama offers all the wire rate performance of an FPGA-based test appliance but it’s actually built on BittWare hardware which is a commercial off the shelf or COTS platform. So, leveraging economies of scale, that COTS platform is used for a myriad of different applications—not just in telecom industry but in computer networking for hyperscale data centers and so on.
The cost of that platform compared to the cost of a hardware proprietary solution from a traditional test set vendor is just miles apart. We’re able to bring the cost down, leveraging this BittWare COTS platform, without sacrificing any of the performance that operations groups are accustomed to.
It’s all the wire rate performance for traffic generation, packet capture that they’re used to.
Marcus: So GENEM-C brings a much lower cost point without sacrificing performance. Now there’s another big consideration for many customers and that is procurement. Many customers prefer to buy from a large, trusted sales network and so that’s why BittWare and Molex are now resellers of GENEM-C. Marco, can you elaborate a little bit about this new relationship?
Marco: Siama systems is composed of mainly embedded systems development personnel along with FPGA designers. We’re a small company and we don’t have anywhere close to the reach or the human resources capabilities of Molex. This relationship is extremely important to us. It allows us to deliver our product and services to more countries than we’d ever be capable of just on our own.
Marcus: You’ve talked about the cost advantage of GENEM-C with these faster speeds and then procurement through BittWare and Molex but let’s conclude with just a brief look at the key features of the GENEM-C application itself. And then if you could tell me a bit more detail about the TeraBox servers.
Marco: GENEM-C provides all the wire-rate performance that network operations needs to perform troubleshooting and testing of the network. This includes synthetic traffic generation, packet capture, filtering and brokering, the ability to do network emulation, throughput, latency jitter, performance testing—all this under a single license. You get all the features with one license.
The application lives on the TeraBox 1000S. BittWare’s TeraBox 1000S can accommodate one XUP-VV8 FPGA card that has presents four 100 gig-E ports. So, the solution is a 400 gig test capacity solution with four 100 gig ports.
Now there is another TeraBox available that provides four slots for four XUP-VV8 cards. In the future Siama systems plans to have a version of GENEM-C that will present sixteen 100 gig test interfaces.
Marcus: Thanks Marco for giving an overview of GENEM-C and Siama.