Software-Defined Networking with SmartNICs

Build secure SmartNICs and operate them at scale on Ubuntu.

SmartNICs allow to free up CPU capacity in data centers by offloading workloads from servers to network. Innovative data center architectures that leverage SmartNICs benefit from enhanced security at the edge of the server. Containerisation and efficient bare-metal operations are key to integrate SmartNICs in the data center. Snaps enable SDN and NFV, thereby ushering the way to accelerated switching and packet processing, as well as distributed storage across data center networks. MAAS makes bare-metal operations programmable. Canonical offers distinctive technologies to empower the smart networking pioniers.

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Security for programmable networks

Distributed storage encryption

The security of distributed storage on SmartNICs is reinforced with Ubuntu Core’s full disk encryption feature.

Network function 
integrity

Network functions contained into snaps are isolated and untamperable to guarantee network integrity.

Security updates for the control plane

Network control layer workloads offloaded to SmartNICs are continuously updated and patched for security for up to 15 years.

Automated bare-metal operations at scale

Operating SmartNICs at scale in a complex data center architecture can be tedious. However, MAAS automatises zero-touch provisioning and remote operations of bare-metal. With MAAS your innovative SmartNIC-enhanced data center architecture will be managed by code.

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Networking innovation, software-driven

  • Easy deployment of new networking features
  • An app store for edge network functions
  • Networking hardware commodification
  • Ecosystems for datacenter software vendors
  • NFV as a service
  • Lower development cost

Easy network programmability

Snaps package network functions with runtime and dependencies into application containers. As a consequence, single network functions become modular, easy to reuse, and portable across various SmarNICs. Runtime isolation makes it possible to use a broad range of programming languages to develop smart networking applications, with a positive impact on development costs and time to market.

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A marketplace for VNFs

The snap store provides a platform for cloud service providers, telecommunication companies, ISVs and SmartNIC vendors to build an ecosystem for intelligent networking.

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Low CAPEX for ambitious R&D

No upfront cost


  • Open source
  • Board images free to download
  • Key snaps at no cost in snap store

Rapid prototyping


  • On PC workstations
  • On popular development SoCs
  • On leading SmartNIC platforms

Software development decoupled from hardware


  • Early investment in costly networking hardware not necessary
  • Full hardware abstraction
  • Development focus on software

Board enablement


  • Custom enablement for any hardware
  • Kernel customisation
  • Real-time enablement
  • Time sensitive networking implementation

Build and operate programmable NICs on Ubuntu

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