Electronic Patch Panel

Simple network wiring changes in datacenters and co-location facilities can be expensive and are sometimes impossible (e.g. in secure locations or during business hours). It is also often desirable to keep engineers (or students) out of datacenter facilities while continuing to allow complex network reconfigurations for tests/experiments.

The ExaLINK Fusion L1 solves these problems by operating as a remotely accessible, programmable, electronic patch panel. Connections between servers, switches and other devices can be inspected, monitored, tapped and re-patched at any time using the intuitive CLI or programmed remotely using a JSON RPC API interface.

The Fusion L1 is enterprise ready, supporting SNMP for statistics gathering and TACACS+ to provide a variety of security access levels. Because the device operates at Layer 1, patches are fully secure, operate at line rate, and add negligible latency and jitter into the path.

Media Conversion

Equipment vendors often require operators to use specific, branded transceivers or cables. This can make it difficult or impossible to interconnect devices of different brands, especially at the lowest latency.

The ExaLINK Fusion L1 can be used to connect nearly any type of SFP/SFP+ compatible transceivers together. e.g. branded/unbranded direct attach (DA) cables (10GBASE-CR), 850nm short and medium range multi-mode optical transceivers (10GBASE-SR), 1310nm long range optical (10GBASE-LR) and many others.

The device replaces expensive boutique media conversion solutions and adds signal quality, packet counting and header dump monitoring facilities with no throughput penalty and almost no latency penalty (<5ns). It can also be used for active capture to disk with the optional ExaLINK Fusion x86 module installed.

Network Testing Automation

Complex networked systems require automated testing to ensure that they are production ready. The ExaLINK Fusion L1 allows operators to dynamically configure a range of network topologies and interconnects automatically for rigorous testing. The device can be programmed via the JSON RPC API and triggered by your continuous integration/testing software including TeamCity, Bamboo, and Jenkins. The ExaLINK Fusion x86 module provides a perfect device to configure, monitor and run these tests without needing additional rack space or resources.

Circuit Breaker / Kill Switch

Sometimes it is necessary to give clients direct access to the network, with nearly zero latency, but to control, monitor and block their access should anything go wrong. For example, brokers may want to give market participants direct connections to the exchange, but apply a circuit breaker or kill switch should the participant exceed their risk margins.

The ExaLINK Fusion L1 provides <5ns latency for connections to external networks (e.g. WANs/exchanges). Taps can be used to send all forward and reverse traffic to a monitoring process which which may programmatically disconnect any client using the JSON RPC API interface when risk or security violations occur.

Fast Failover

All network engineers care about reliability and resilience. Production networks typically have multiple redundant paths to handle link, switch, router or cable failure and usually have multiple redundant gateways/firewalls.

Using the ExaLINK Fusion L1, redundant links and devices can be connected using a minimum of switch hops and adding only a few nanoseconds of latency. The JSON RPC API interface can be used to programmatically change paths on gateway/firewall failure. In an upcoming firmware release, Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) will support automatic re-routing at layer one when loss of signal is detected.

Low Latency Firewall

Firewalls are a vital component of any network security strategy. For many applications, firewalls not only need to be effective, but low latency as well. The ExaNIC X4 FW is the fastest firewall available on the market with a latency of under 250ns. The device ships as a 4 port 10G NIC form factor and can be installed in any RedHat compliant server.