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SDN Journal Authors: Stefan Dietrich, Elizabeth White, Peter Silva, Pat Romanski, Don MacVittie

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Xilinx Enables "Softly" Defined Networks with New Software Defined Specification Environment

New SDNet Software Defined Specification Environment and All Programmable FPGAs & SoCs Expanding Programmability and Intelligence from the Control to the Data Plane

LAS VEGAS, March 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- At Interop Las Vegas, Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX) today announced the industry's first solution for "Softly" Defined Networks, expanding programmability and intelligence from the control to the data plane. The design of the programmable data plane functions is enabled by the new Software Defined Specification Environment for Networking (SDNet), with functional specifications automatically compiled into Xilinx's All Programmable FPGAs and SoCs. 



In contrast to traditional SDN architectures, which employ fixed data plane hardware with a narrow southbound API connection to the control plane, Softly Defined Networks are based upon a programmable data plane with content-intelligence and a rich southbound API control plane connection. This enables multiple disruptive capabilities including:

  • Support of wire speed services that are independent of protocol complexity
  • Provisioning of per-flow, flexible services
  • Support for revolutionary in-service "hitless" upgrades while operating at 100 percent line rate

These unique capabilities enable carriers and MSOs to dynamically provision unique, differentiated services without any interruption to the existing service or the need for hardware requalification or truck roll.  This provides service providers higher revenue potential with unprecedented CapEx, OpEx, and time to market savings.  Network equipment providers realize similar benefits from the feature rich, flexible Softly Defined Network platform which allows for extensive differentiation through the deployment of content-aware data plane hardware that is programmed with the SDNet environment. 

Additional benefits of Softly Defined Network solutions enabled by SDNet and Xilinx® All Programmable FPGAs and SoCs include:

  • Improved, highly flexible Quality of Service (QoS)
  • Flow and session aware capabilities
  • Fully programmable hardware data plane and I/O
  • Support for NFV at wire speed including user defined, custom capabilities
  • Scalable line rates from 1G to 400G

"The first phase of SDN (Software Defined Networking) enables data center and WAN operators to customize and improve their network in software. In the next phase, we can expect a drive beyond fixed-function hardware data planes.  Adding high-level programmability and more sophisticated functionality to the data plane, accessed via standard software APIs, means that networking resources will be managed more intelligently and efficiently, increasing the rate of innovation," said Nick McKeown, professor of computer science at Stanford University.

"Xilinx's introduction of a software defined specification environment to create and modify network elements from high-level descriptions carries implications far beyond OpenFlow protocol-compatible SDN," said Loring Wirbel, senior analyst at The Linley Group. "Significant characteristics of both control plane and data plane processing can be defined at the time the network node is established. This type of tool, which allows system architects to specify and deploy exact application services without requiring an understanding of the underlying device architecture or a complex programming language, has not been offered by device manufacturers, OEMs, or SDN software specialists to date."

"Xilinx is combining new software based design technologies with All Programmable silicon devices to expand the possibilities for next generation smarter networks and data centers," said Hemant Dhulla, vice president, communications business unit at Xilinx. "The revolutionary flexibility, capabilities, and productivity afforded by SDNet, in conjunction with the flexibility of Xilinx's All Programmable devices deliver the industry's first software defined data plane solution for Softly Defined Networks."

A demonstration of the SDNet solution is available at Xilinx booth #2066, Interop 2014 or by contacting a local Xilinx sales representative.  To learn more visit  

About Xilinx

Xilinx is the world's leading provider of All Programmable FPGAs, SoCs and 3D ICs. These industry-leading devices are coupled with a next-generation design environment and IP to serve a broad range of customer needs, from programmable logic to programmable systems integration. For more information, visit



© Copyright 2014 Xilinx, Inc. Xilinx, the Xilinx logo, Artix, ISE, Kintex, Spartan, Virtex, Vivado, Zynq, and other designated brands included herein are trademarks of Xilinx in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

SOURCE Xilinx, Inc.

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