Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Broadcom Mirror on Drop (MoD)

Networking Field Day 23 included a presentation by Bhaskar Chinni describing Broadcom's Mirror-on-Drop (MOD) capability. MOD capable hardware can generate a notification whenever a packet is dropped by the ASIC, reporting the packet header and the reason that the packet was dropped. MOD is supported by Trident 3, Tomahawk 3,  and Jericho 2 or later ASICs that are included in popular data center switches and widely deployed in data centers.

The recently published sFlow Dropped Packet Notification Structures specification adds drop notifications to industry standard sFlow telemetry export, complementing the existing push based counter and packet sampling measurements. The inclusion of drop monitoring in sFlow will allow the benefits of MOD to be fully realized, ensuring consistent end-to-end visibility into dropped packets across multiple vendors and network operating systems.

Using Advanced Telemetry to Correlate GPU and Network Performance Issues demonstrates how packet drop notifications from NVIDA Mellanox switches forms part of an integrated sFlow telemetry stream that provides the system wide observability needed to drive automation.

MOD instrumentation on Broadcom based switches provides the foundation needed for network vendors to integrate the functionality with sFlow agents to add dropped packet notifications. 

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