Barefoot Networks verifies Tofino programmable switch using Mentor Graphics Veloce emulation platform

July 20, 2016
WILSONVILLE, Ore., 20 July 2016. Barefoot Networks, developer of user-programmable and high-performance network switches in Palo Alto, California, used Mentor Graphics Corp.’s (NASDAQ:MENT) Veloce emulation platform to verify its 6.5-terabit per second (Tbps) Tofino switch. 

WILSONVILLE, Ore., 20 July 2016. Barefoot Networks, developer of user-programmable and high-performance network switches in Palo Alto, California, used Mentor Graphics Corp.’s (NASDAQ:MENT) Veloce emulation platform to verify its 6.5-terabit per second (Tbps) Tofino switch.

Barefoot Networks engineers selected Mentor Graphics’ Veloce emulation platform for its high-capacity, superior virtualization technology, remote access option, and proven track record in networking design verification. Barefoot Networks personnel benchmarked the different emulators available, and decided the Veloce platform was the only emulator able to handle the large and complex Barefoot Networks design, company officials say.

The Mentor Graphics Veloce platform is uniquely built with highly scalable hardware, an extensible operating system, and a growing library of applications.

“The Veloce emulation platform gave us the capacity we needed to verify our programmable, networking-specific and interconnect-dominated design,” explains Barefoot Networks VP of Engineering Dan Lenoski. “Beyond the fundamental strengths of the Veloce emulation platform, we were also able to take advantage of their proven hardware+software co-emulation, which is critical for verifying a programmable networking device.”

In the networking space, Ethernet designs are large and particularly intricate, and can tax emulation compile and run times. The Barefoot’s Tofino switch design consists of complex interconnect, which typically creates a challenge for most emulation platforms to route. The Veloce emulation platform uses patented virtual wire technology and the proprietary Crystal2 chip, and had no issue handling the complexity of this interconnect-dominated design, officials describe.

The Veloce VirtuaLAB Ethernet used by Barefoot was critical for testing the core functionality of the design. VirtuaLAB includes an Ethernet Packet Generator and Monitor (EPGM) that generates, transmits, and monitors Ethernet packets with the Design under Test (DUT); Ethernet testers are modeled in software running under Linux on a workstation connected to the emulator.

“The Veloce emulation platform continues to dominate in the networking market,” says Eric Selosse, vice president and general manager of the Mentor Emulation Division. “We worked with Barefoot on access and implementation so they could focus immediately and exclusively on the verification task.”

The Veloce emulation platform uses software, running on qualified hardware and an extensible operating system, to target design risks faster than hardware-centric strategies.

Now considered among the most versatile and powerful of verification tools, emulation greatly expands the ability of project teams to do hardware debugging, hardware/software co-verification or integration, system-level prototyping, low-power verification and power estimation, and performance characterization.

The Veloce emulation platform is a core technology in the Mentor Enterprise Verification Platform (EVP) – a platform that boosts productivity in ASIC and SoC functional verification by combining advanced verification technologies in a comprehensive platform. The Mentor EVP combines Questa advanced verification solutions, the Veloce emulation platform, and the Visualizer debug environment into a globally accessible, high-performance, datacenter resource. The Mentor EVP features global resource management that supports project teams around the world, maximizing both user productivity and total verification return on investment.

Mentor Graphics Corp. is a global provider of electronic hardware and software design solutions, providing products, consulting services and award-winning support for the world's most successful electronic, semiconductor, and systems companies. Established in 1981, the company reported revenues in the last fiscal year of approximately $1.18 billion.

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