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Software is top headache for network engineers

9/29/2010 05:29 PM EDT
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sharps_eng
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re: Software is top headache for network engineers
sharps_eng   10/2/2010 2:12:17 PM
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About 100 years ago* a journo in 'BYTE' magazine built a multiprocessor project using dozens of 8052 microcontrollers. Sounds silly, but as a concept it illustrated exactly the same problems as are found today, including Amdahl's arguments. Fascinating proof of concept; would all be done in software these days, but it was fun to work through the build and interprocessor comms issues with him as the project unfolded month by month.

russpatterson
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re: Software is top headache for network engineers
russpatterson   10/1/2010 2:39:42 PM
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Hi Larry, Having worked in the game industry since '88 I can tell you that multicore processors haven't really faired all that well. Even though the hardware makers insist on using them. It's very time consuming to engineer the solutions that split the problem up over multiple cores. Case in point. XBox 360 games look just at good as PlayStation 3 games and the the 360 does not have a multicore beast like the Cell Processor. Multicore looks great on paper for the hardware people because it solves their problem of more processing power but the savings are lost when products are delayed due to extended s/w engineering schedules and debugging (really nasty, hard to track down issues).

LarryM99
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re: Software is top headache for network engineers
LarryM99   9/30/2010 6:06:06 PM
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At one point I held the opinion that embedded systems programmers were the best equipped to program multicore CPUs, but in the time since then I have seen increasing sophistication out of game programmers. They have learned to deal with massively parallel compute power in the modern GPUs and gaming platforms. Ultimately, this has to be resolved by the creation of an appropriate abstraction layer. There will always be a need for a few hard-core programmers who work deep in the guts, but to really succeed there has to be a way of effectively expressing software that can be used by more "normal" programmers. I'm not sure that we're there yet. Larry M.

MikeLC
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re: Software is top headache for network engineers
MikeLC   9/30/2010 8:04:20 AM
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I agree that tools for debugging multicore is a real need. I would like to see debugging tools that used graphics to show program flow through modules and be able to zoom into the graphics to get to actual lines of code. Also, being able to slow the hardware down while having it behave exactly like the real-time version.

Sheetal.Pandey
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re: Software is top headache for network engineers
Sheetal.Pandey   9/29/2010 7:32:33 PM
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I agree software support is the real decision maker in selecting a processor. Also the issue of memory chips life cycle and availability is really a burning one.

chanj0
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re: Software is top headache for network engineers
chanj0   9/29/2010 6:08:35 PM
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Two major challenges are stated in the article - multi-core optimization and virtual I/O. In addition, chip obsolete and memory revolution have impacted the development life cycle. What would you do to keep up to technology and to shorten the development time?

rick merritt
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re: Software is top headache for network engineers
rick merritt   9/29/2010 5:44:15 PM
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What's your top issue with multicore processors?

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