Igalia uses the Snabb open source network toolkit to build fast, cost-efficient, open source network functions for major network operators around the world.

Snabb: Fast, simple, open source packet processing

Snabb is a toolkit for building network functions: programs that process packets. You can use Snabb to build switches, implement virtual private networks (VPNs) and other kinds of point-to-point tunnels, inspect traffic at line-rate, to implement denial-of-service or other firewall-like virtual appliances.

Snabb is fast and competitive, and handles production traffic at some of the largest network operators in the world.

It is easy to build network functions in Snabb. Snabb programs are entirely written in the high-level Lua language, and compiled using advanced just-in-time compilation techniques to give the fastest possible performance. Many in-house network engineers have found that they are able to create network functions that are fit to their purposes, even without being experts in Snabb itself.

As an open source project, Snabb does not require costly per-server licensing agreements. It not only includes a number of building blocks, but also a number of fully-developed network functions, lowering both operator capex and opex.

Solutions built in Snabb help avoid hardware and software vendor lock-in. Snabb is designed to run on commodity Xeon servers without depending on specialized hardware features. It also has an ecosystem of multiple open source developers that can provide support, consultancy, and development services. When you choose Snabb, you are choosing a technology, not a hardware or a software provider.

Deployment is a snap with Snabb. Network functions built in Snabb are just programs, and are compiled into a simple binary that you can copy to your servers and run.

Finally, Snabb’s high-level implementation language has allowed Snabb to grow up from the data-plane into the control and management side as well. Snabb network functions integrate well in an operator’s environment via exposing their configuration and state in terms of industry-standard YANG schemas. Open source NETCONF bridges can then make the connection between Snabb and your NCS.

Igalia and Snabb

Igalia is the top contributor to Snabb and the leading provider of Snabb-based solutions. A selection of some examples of our work:

  • A Snabb-based IPv6 transition technology for use in operator networks, now deployed at multiple network providers around the world. For more information on the Snabb lightweight-4-over-6 AFTR, see our dedicated page on IPv6 transition technologies.

  • A scale-out, unsampled IPFIX implementation for monitoring 10 gigabit line-rate flow traffic for small packets, now also running in production at a Swiss academic ISP.

  • Pflua, a high-performance implementation of the packet-filtering language implemented by the venerable tcpdump tool, which compiles filters directly to optimized native machine code.

  • In partnership with NLnet, Igalia developed an open source layer-7 firewall and packet inspector, SnabbWall.

  • Igalia has developed a number of extensions to network interface drivers, exposing hardware capabilities to Snabb.

Is Snabb right for me?

Don’t hesitate to reach out to get our engineers’ thoughts on whether Snabb is a good fit for your problem. Igalia engineers have broad experience in both Snabb and the industry-standard VPP fd.io project, and we are happy to work in either. We also have some experience in Linux kernel networking, DPDK, and P4, so we can provide independent consultancy on where to put your efforts.