Parsing each packet that enters an Accolade SmartNIC is one of the first functions that the adapter performs and is a precursor to most ensuing functions. For example, the 5-tuple (source/destination IP address, source/destination port and protocol) for each packet is used for flow classification. To be clear, the packet parser separates the packet header out into its constituent L2, L3 and L4 components.
The Accolade parser doesn’t just blindly separate the various header fields in the packet. It has a great deal of intelligence built in. For example, if a given packet is buried inside a tunneling technology such as VLAN, VXLAN, MPLS, GTP or GRE, the parser is able to bypass the encapsulation and work on the inner header portion of the packet where the packet data is held. But at the same time, if some function requires the encapsulation fields (e.g. MPLS label) as an input, the parser keeps track of that information as well.
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