In the last decade, the networking research community has significantly fueled the network softwarization and virtualization trend. Network processing tasks, originally performed by dedicated hardware appliances, were converted into software components running on commodity hardware, and deployed in relevant cloud infrastructures (central and/or edge). While this trend is clearly a winning proposition in terms of cost and flexibility, non-marginal concerns do emerge not only when considering performance and energy consumption, but also when addressing horizontal scaling limitations currently affecting edge cloud deployments. As a matter of fact, emerging media-rich and network-intensive applications come along with throughput and latency requirements which may be overly challenging for software functions. The thesis of our talk is that cost and flexibility is NOT necessarily in contrast with performance and power consumption. We support our thesis by making a case for domain-specific architectures for efficient and high-speed packet processing. We will specifically discuss the tailored design of fully programmable hardware platforms specialized for networking and for packet processing, and how they can attain significant performance gains with respect to their software counterparts meant to be deployed on commodity CPUs
Giuseppe Bianchi is Full Professor of Networking at the University of Roma Tor Vergata since 2007. His research activity includes programmable network systems, wireless networks, network security, and performance modeling (his pioneering research work on WLAN modelling and assessment has received the ACM SigMobile 2017 Test-Of-Time award), and is documented in about 300 peer-reviewed international journal and conference papers, accounting for more than 20.000 citations (source: Google Scholar). He has coordinated six large scale EU projects, and has been (or still is) editor for several journals in his field, including IEEE/ACM Trans. on Networking, IEEE Trans. on Wireless Communications, IEEE Trans. on Network and Service Management, and Elsevier Computer Communications.