AMD/Xilinx Solarflare Network Driver Restructuring Queued For Linux 5.19
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Networking on 15 May 2022 at 06:06 AM EDT. Add A Comment
LINUX NETWORKING --
The Solarflare "SFC" network driver within the Linux kernel for their high performance network adapters, owned by Xilinx and now owned by AMD, is seeing some restructuring with the next version of the Linux kernel. The intention is on shifting older network hardware to a separate kernel module/driver so improvements and new hardware support can be the focus with this main Solarflare Linux network driver.

This driver restructuring is punting out Solarflare SFN5000/SFN6000 series NICs to a new "sfc-siena" driver with Siena being the name of the architecture for those network adapters. This spin-out is being done since the SFN5000/SFN6000 series hardware with the Solarflare SFC9000 controller was announced end-of-life last November. AMD/Xilinx has removed these network adapters from their test labs and "testing has been reduced to a minimum". Thus the support is being spun out to a separate driver now so the main SFC driver can advance with existing and future hardware support without risk breaking the older Siena hardware support.


So while the Solarflare "Siena" hardware (SFC9000 controller) is EOL, the Linux support will still be there just now spun out to a likely rather dormant new module to lower their maintenance burden and allow focusing on newer generations of hardware with less risk of regressing this older architecture.


The Solarflare SFN5000 10GbE server NICs were originally announced more than one decade ago. These days 10GbE is less interesting in the high-end server space with Xilinx Solarflare having various 25/40/50/100GbE offerings too and moving forward will only go higher.

Previously Solarflare/Xilinx did this same sort of Linux network driver refactoring with their earlier "Falcon" architecture.

The various Solarflare SFC driver changes were queued this week into net-next ahead of the upcoming Linux 5.19 cycle.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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