The P4 programming language is gaining popularity in the networking industry. It is considered the next step in the evolution of SDN networking.

Programming Protocol-independent Packet Processors (P4) is an open-source, high-level programming language for network devices. It defines how data plane devices (switches, routers, network cards, etc.) process packets.

Before the P4 version, vendors had total control over the functionality supported on the network. Silicon vendors controlled the rollout of new features, and it took a long time (sometimes even years) to bring them to market… This is because a chip redesign is usually required.

What happened after the implementation of P4? You'll learn about that later in this article.

Why Are More And More People Turning To P4?

P4 proved to be a complete game-changer and turned the traditional model around 180 degrees. Changes made by application developers and network engineers, instead of taking years, can be made in just minutes!

P4 allows you to have a real impact on what the network does and how it does it. Properly used, P4 will increase the efficiency of network resources to better handle service workloads.

Getting Started with P4 Capable Network Switch

If you're thinking about switching to P4 but have no idea how to connect and configure it, you're in the perfect place!

We have designed 3 programs to help you take your first steps with a P4 capable network switch, which are appropriately suited to your skill level and current needs. Each has a separate goal and targets different audiences. All this to save a lot of your time and nerves.

SwitchON P4 Service

If you are a Systems or Application Engineer who has received your switch, and you need help or want to make sure someone is watching over your shoulder as you get your new system is up and running with the first "Hello World" scenario, then this is the solution for you.

The SwitchON P4 service will help you get started with a P4 capable network switch. The aim of this training session is to guide you through the initial set-up and operation of your switch.

We will guide you from unpacking the switch to running your first test application, while demonstrating the major features of their first exposure to a P4 development platform.

The entire course takes about 3 hours, which, in our experience, is a comfortable pace at which to achieve the course goals.

The session content is designed to cover all the steps from unboxing to running a first viable test application. Of course, depending on how experienced the Engineer is, we can skip the early stages and move straight to the connection and set-up phase.

For more information click here.

SwitchON+ P4 Service

Similar to the case above - if you are a Systems or Application Engineer who has received your switch, and you want to be guided or assisted whilst you get your new system up and running with your first real-world P4 application, then this SwitchON+ P4 Service is for you.

Hands-on is always the best learning scenario, but this is not always possible. When a system is not available to the Engineer, then we can use one of our test systems to run through the same processes.

SwitchON+ adds more in-depth coverage of some important development and production topics. Such as:

  • building the SDE with different P4 selection profiles,
  • interfacing with your application (gRPC),
  • Network Operating System options
  • P4 application exposure.
You do not need to have any experience with this environment. We will guide you through the entire process, all the way to running the real-world P4 application! In this case, the course takes about 6 hours.

For more information click here.

Switch WorkShop P4 Service

Switch WorkShop P4 Service is ideally suited to the Systems or Applications Engineer (individual or teams not greater than six participants) who are about to embark on the development of a P4-based system or application.

While participants should ideally have some P4 exposure, it is not strictly necessary as the focus of the workshop will be on design.

The goal of the workshop session is to fast-track your design strategy and explore the critical aspects of your development together.

Remember: P4 is just a language for implementing a design. One of our several value-adds is to bridge the real-world gap between what is theoretically possible in P4 and what is actually possible on Tofino-based platforms.

In this case, we will agree with the participants on the structure of the workshop. In the absence of specific requests, the 3-day workshop will be divided into several focused sessions. According to the table below:

Session Plan


  • Introduction and planning for the workshop.
  • Deep dive into system/application concept and high-level requirements.
  • Presentation and analysis of first-glance strategies and mechanisms of the P4 platform that may address high-level requirements.
  • Arbitrated discussion focusing on the suitability of the platform for design and on any circumvention or alternate strategies where relevant.
  • Planning for the next two days includes design aspects that require special focus and the deliverables that should come out of the workshop.


  • Develop design of primary strategies and mechanisms carefully allotting time segments to a high-priority set and avoid getting sucked into implementation.


  • Develop design of primary strategies and mechanisms carefully allotting time segments to a high-priority set and avoid getting sucked into implementation.
  • Drill down on unfinished top priority requirements.
  • Consolidate the work done and the design decisions – plan next steps.

Want to Learn More About it?

Get in touch with us and we will answer all of your questions.

Contact Us

STORDIS CEO Alexander Jeffries’ official interview about the novelties of the STORDIS Advanced Programmable Switches.




Curious about Open Networking and the Advanced Programmable Switches? Get in touch with us to find out how you can benefit from it.

The one-day event focusing on P4 is organized by the P4 Education Working Group in collaboration with KPN, STORDIS, and AAGlenn Internetworking Company, and takes place in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The event intends to bring various P4 users of all levels in the open-source community together to share the development of innovative data plane applications, tools and infrastructure.

The organizer and host will be Aaron Glenn from AAGlenn Internetworking Company, operating in the US and Berlin, Germany. The experienced telecommunications engineer provides network design, development, deployment, and various operation services to his customers.

“It’s great to see both industry and academia excited about the possibilities of programmable networks. I’m hoping to continue sharing ideas, gaining new knowledge, and meeting more people with an interest in the P4 language. With nearly 60 attendees from all around Europe registered for this second hackathon event, I am excited to have an even better time hanging out and writing code! The continued support of our generous sponsors will mean a third and fourth are coming soon,” says Aaron Glenn, Managing Director of AAGlenn Internetworking Company.

P4 enthusiast and senior director of product management and marketing at Barefoot Networks (now an Intel company) Prem Jonnalagadda will attend the hackathon to join the collective activity. “It’s a pleasure for me to be a part of this event, to meet new people from the European P4 community, see familiar as well as new faces, and chat about open and programmable networking solving critical connectivity challenges faced by network operators. It is amazing to see the continuing rapid growth of the P4 community with more and more engineers eager to learn to program in P4. P4 has become the domain-specific programming language for networking and it is wonderful to see it being adopted all over the world,” he says.

STORDIS’ valuable partner Barefoot Networks provided the Barefoot Tofino ASIC, which is the P4-programmable heart of the new STORDIS Advanced Programmable Switches (APS). The switches are the first Tofino-powered Open Networking switches to be OCP Accepted™ and the first units to support Precision Time Protocol (PTP) and 1Gb throughput among other versatile features, delivering significant business advantage in various fields of the industry.

“Programmability is key to new open source technologies and gains more and more relevance within the industry. STORDIS supports the transition of the market from a traditionally closed environment to a flexible, efficient, standards-based system. It is a great honor for us to work together with the P4 Education Workgroup and to help them promote these advancements,” says Alexander Jeffries, CEO of STORDIS and sponsor of the event.

In the context of STORDIS ACADEMY, the German-based company organizes unique training courses worldwide to provide insights into the latest Open Networking technologies, such as data plane programming with P4 and Barefoot’s P4 Studio™ Software Development Environment (SDE). The courses are most suitable for software developers and architects tasked with design and development of data plane and control plane programs for the modern networking equipment.

For more information about the P4 programming language, visit our P4 Programming Language page or the P4 Language Consortium.

If you would like to participate in upcoming P4 training courses, please contact us or visit STORDIS ACADEMY.

You will find more information about AAGlenn Internetworking Company at AAGico Berlin

You will find more information about Barefoot Networks, an Intel company, on our Barefoot partner page or at BAREFOOT.

Prem Jonnalagadda from Barefoot Networks quickly explains how a P4 programmable data plane can be used in a broadcast network environment. The switch used for the seamless switching demo at IBC2018 is the STORDIS BF6064X, a Open Network switch that is powered by a programmable Tofino ASIC.