In the summer of 2004, Luna Design was hired by IP Fabrics to design and develop
an interactive "dashboard" application that would graphically display
configuration and activity information from the company's network processor
Since the company's software can configure the hardware platform's 16 network
processors in varying arrangements, the first challenge was crafting a flexible
design that could support all the possible configurations. The completed design
also serves as a logical diagram of the platform, which is very helpful in trade
show and other demo situations to introduce the company's product.
During the development phase, Luna selected Microsoft's .NET framework and
Windows Forms as the implementation platform so the final product could be
easily deployed to any PC. To handle communication between the network
processor software and the dashboard application, we designed XML messages that
could be sent via UDP packets and made the application multi-threaded so the
communication layer wouldn't interfere with the frequent updates of the
Over the course of 2004 and 2005, Luna made several client-requested enhancements
including handling advanced configs and supporting a half-sized display mode so several
network processors could be watched side-by-side.
Some of the interfaces Luna designed and implemented include:
- PPL Performance
- This panel displays the current platform configuration as a logical diagram.
The emphasis is on showing the path packets take through the system and the
current performance of the 16 network processors. This panel was later
enhanced to support advanced configurations like this sample.
- PPL Pipeline
- This panel focuses on the packet queues for the network processors in the
middle of the logical diagram. It gives the viewer a good idea of where packets
are getting held up in the system.
Although the dashboard application was originally intended for use at trade
shows and customer demos, it has also become a valuable tool for monitoring
and debugging the company's software.