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Napatech Software Suite

Napatech Software Suite provides a well-defined application programming interface as well as support for the well-known, open-source interface libpcap and the Windows variant called WinPcap. This allows programmers to quickly integrate Napatech SmartNICs for network monitoring and security applications into their system.

Key features

Napatech Software Suite provides advanced features for data sharing and
merging supporting multi-accelerator and multi-application integration:

  • NTAPI: Common API for all Napatech SmartNICs
  • Simple programming interface allowing fast integration
  • Zero copy transfer of data to host
  • Zero copy transfer of data between accelerators
  • Packet-based interface providing abstraction of hardware details
  • Advanced features including:
  • Data merging of port data from multiple SmartNICs into a single data stream
  • Data sharing of captured data between multiple customer

One software suite for seamless integration and migration

Our comprehensive software suite ensures that our SmartNICs are widely compatible and easy to integrate.

From support for all major operating systems, to the common API for all products, we keep your learning curve to a minimum and provide an efficient migration path for next-generation network speeds. This can help you reduce time-to-market for new products, while reducing risk.

Napatech-supported applications

Napatech Software Suite is ideal for applications that require multiple high-speed ports and SmartNICs. Data merging functionality is provided to support accurate merging of data from multiple ports and SmartNICs into a single stream for analysis.

Data sharing functionality allows multiple applications to be hosted on the same server with data distributed to each application using the Napatech SmartNICs’ intelligent flow distribution capabilities.

The ability to support all types of Napatech SmartNICs with a single API allowing OEM vendors to support a range of product variants using a single application development effort.

Application programming interfaces

Packet capture interfaces

The libpcap and WinPcap packet capture interfaces are widely used interfaces in open-source applications, such as Wireshark, Ethereal, TCPdump, TCPreplay and more. libpcap is available on Linux and FreeBSD and WinPcap is available on Windows. They provide excellent starting points for development of network monitoring and analysis appliances.

libpcap and WinPcap are supported by the NTAPI interface allowing existing implementations using libpcap or WinPcap to quickly use Napatech SmartNICs. The NTAPI provides additional features that are not available via the libpcap or WinPcap interfaces, but can be configured using the Napatech Programming Language (NTPL).

Napatech Software Suite NTAPI

Napatech Software Suite supports the Napatech Application Programming Interface (NTAPI), which is a packet-based interface designed to make programming and integration quicker and easier. While NTAPI is packet-based, it also supports a segment-based mode.

The NTAPI interface provides a hardware abstraction, so programmers do not need to know or manage details of the individual accelerators, which in turn reduces the complexity and potential for errors.

The NTAPI inteface is thus ideal for system configurations where multiple SmartNICs are used. The accelerator ports can be treated individually or can be merged in groups, allowing more efficient data management and distribution.

Comparing application programming interfaces

libpcap and WinPcap are widely used interfaces, which makes integration of Napatech SmartNICs quick and easy. However, to fully benefit from the acceleration and off-load features provided by Napatech SmartNICs, it is recommended that the Napatech NTAPI interface is used. In addition, NTAPI provides a simple interface where many of the details are managed by Napatech Software Suite and multi-SmartNIC configurations are easily supported including extra features for data merging of multiple ports and data sharing between multiple host applications.

The following table provides a brief overview of the differences between the interfaces.

Featurelibpcap and WinPcaplibpcap and WinPcap with NTPLNapatech Software Suite NTAPI
Zero copy transfer to host (OS bypass)
Zero copy transfer between accelerators
Merging of port data from a single accelerator
Merging of port data from multiple SmartNICs●*
Data sharing between multiple applications
Packet classification
Advanced filters
Packet coloring / tagging
Hash key generation
Intelligent multi-CPU distribution
Local retransmit
Host-based transmit
* Best performance

Napatech programming language (NTPL)

Programming language for rapid configuration

NTPL is an easy-to-understand text-based configuration language, which abstracts the details of SmartNIC hardware implementation from the application developer allowing faster code development.

The NTPL language can be used for configuration of features on the SmartNIC, such as filters, hash key generation, deduplication and local retransmit.

On-the-fly configuration

NTPL is designed for on-the-fly configuration of Napatech SmartNIC features. Commands can be sent using a tool provided by Napatech.

NTPL can also be used to configure filters when using a libpcap interface.

Operating system support

The following operating systems are supported by Napatech Software Suite.

FeatureVersionsNapatech Software Suite
Linux2.6.18 or later 2.6.x releases inclusive 64-bit
3.0 to 3.16 inclusive 64-bit
FreeBSD8.x 64-bit
9.x 64-bit
10.x 64-bit
WindowsServer 2003, 2003R2, 2008 32- and 64 bit
Server 2008R2, 2012, 2012R2 64 bit
7, 8, 8.1 and 10 32- and 64 bit
Additional operating system support is constantly added. Contact your sales representative for more information on planned operating system support.

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