SAN ANTONIO—Freescale Semiconductor Inc. Tuesday (June 19) announced a core-agnostic network system architecture said to offer the flexibility and scalability required by network infrastructure OEMs to handle an exploding number of connected devices, massive datasets, tight security, real-time service and increasingly unpredictable network traffic patterns.
The architecture, known as Layerscape, represents a fundamental new approach to networking system architectures that puts software and programmability at the forefront, according to Freescale. It modularizes packet acceleration and forwarding operations from high-level routing decisions, streamlines interaction between the layers and leverages a synchronous run-to-completion model, Freescale said. Layerscape also supports a consistent programming framework across the architecture using standard C/C++ languages, according to the company.
"Layerscape really will set the benchmark for the next 10 years of network processing applications," said Tom Dietrich, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale's Networking & Multimedia Solutions Group, during the opening keynote of the Freescale Technology Forum here Tuesday.
Freescale also announced the first two QorIQ product families based on the Layerscape architecture, the LS-1 and LS-2. These products include dual ARM Cortex processor cores, virtualization support, advanced security, an array of advanced interconnects, a common ISA and software- and pin-compatibility for simple and smooth application migration between the two families, Freescale said. These products are expected to be available in mid-2013, Freescale said.
Layerscape will form the foundation for a number of other QorIQ multicore processors, from many-core data path devices delivering up to 100 Gbps of performance to cost- and energy-efficient products operating at less than 3W, Freescale said. These QorIQ processors will leverage Power Architecture and ARM technologies as appropriate, according to the company.
Tom Dietrich, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale's Networking & Multimedia Solutions Group, speaks at the Freescale Technology Forum Tuesday.
Dietrich described Layerscape as a "software-aware framework" with three independent, scalable layers—a general-purpose processing layer, an accelerated packet processing layer and an express packet I/O layer. This modular approach will enable Freescale to design QorIQ devices with expanded, reduced or removed layers as needed, providing the optimal solution for a given application, he said.
Freescale pledged that Layerscape would include support for open-standard software programming models and key industry initiatives including software-defined networks and provide a uniform, consistent architecture and software across all tiers of the QorIQ portfolio. It will also feature a system profiling and visualization tool that allows for detailed scenario analysis and streamlines development processes.
Layerscape will also be backed by the VortiQa Platform Services Package, a platform-independent application programming interface for user space application programming, designed to simplify application migration, Freescale said. The PSP abstracts hardware complexity, enables application development within the Linux user space and enables standard C programming, according to the company.
Freescale also promised broad development support for Layerscape, including third-party tools, RTOSes and full-featured Linux environments from Freescale partners. Internal Freescale support includes the CodeWarrior integrated development environment as well as reference design boards, advanced compliers, CodeWarrior debug and configuration tools, models and the QorIQ optimization suite., Freescale said. The company will also supply ready-to-use software libraries and vertical-specific VortiQa application-level software solutions, it said.