Fulcrum unveils 1 billion packet per second 10G/40G Ethernet switch chips

NOVEMBER 2, 2010 -- Fulcrum Microsystems has launched the FocalPoint FM6000 series of fully integrated wire-speed 10G and 40G Ethernet switch chips. The chips incorporate the company’s new Alta high-speed Ethernet switching architecture.

NOVEMBER 2, 2010 -- Fulcrum Microsystems has launched the FocalPoint FM6000 series of fully integrated wire-speed 10G and 40G Ethernet switch chips. The chips incorporate the company’s new Alta high-speed Ethernet switching architecture.

Fulcrum cites its FlexPipe low-latency packet-processing pipeline as a key feature of the FM6000 series switches. FlexPipe can parse, modify, and apply multiple rules to traffic at more than 1 billion packets per second in a completely deterministic manner, Fulcrum asserts. FlexPipe also can be upgraded in the field to support future data center networking protocols as they emerge, the company adds.

The FM6000 series devices are based on Fulcrum’s Alta switch architecture that, in addition to FlexPipe, features flexible 10G and 40G Ethernet port logic and third-generation RapidArray output-queued shared-memory architecture. Alta-based FocalPoint devices achieve high performance while maintaining low cut-through packet latencies of less than 300 nS, regardless of configuration or features enabled, Fulcrum says.

The FlexPipe packet-processing pipeline in the FM6000 series devices is designed to deliver full line-rate performance across up to 72 ports, offering non-blocking throughput for thousands of virtualized flows.

“Our Dell’Oro forecasting models show that 10GE server ports will grow dramatically in coming years, which will drive demand for high density 10G switches and also the demand for 40G Ethernet uplinks,” said Alan Weckel, director of Ethernet research for Dell’Oro Group. “Given this expected demand, the launch of this switch from Fulcrum is very timely.”

FlexPipe allows the functionality of several key logic blocks, such as the packet parser and egress frame modification unit, to be upgraded to support new data center networking standards or proprietary performance-enhancing application tags. With this functionality, switch manufacturers can sell switching systems that are field upgradable with support for emerging data center interconnect topologies such as TRILL and SPB, as well as emerging virtualized networking standards such as 802.1bg (Edge Virtual Bridging) and 802.1bh (Port Extenders), Fulcrum says.

There are nine devices in the FM6000 series, each offering a different port configuration and total bandwidth, ranging from 160 Gbps to 720 Gbps.

All nine members of the FocalPoint FM6000 series will be generally available in 2Q 2011.

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