Chinese communications semiconductor vendor Centec Networks recently unveiled the GoldenGate switch chip. The device offers 1.2 Tbps of switching capacity for applications ranging from Gigabit Ethernet to 100 Gigabit Ethernet. The chip aims to take market share from Broadcom's StrataXGS Trident II Ethernet switch, according to Centec Networks' vice president of business development, Tao Gu.
The switch chip, which represents the fourth generation of the company's TransWarp series (see "Centec Networks intros CTC6048 packet-processing silicon for Carrier Ethernet" and "Building a configurable silicon foundation for carrier-grade Ethernet"), integrates a 100 Gigabit Ethernet uplink capability based on 4x25G. This obviates the need for an external 10x10G to 4x25G gearbox chip, Gu says. The 45x45-mm GoldenGate, available in an FCPBGA 1825 package, leverages IBM's 32-nm technology to provide 20% lower power and half the footprint of what a Centec Networks press release described as "today's dominant alternative silicon."
The switch chip also supports application aware processing, a feature Gu described as compatible with the evolution toward software-defined networking (SDN). This capability includes virtual machine-based flow tracing as well as elephant flow detection and real-time monitoring.
"While previous generations of 10/40GbE switch silicon has tended to stress forwarding bandwidth or programmability, Centec's GoldenGate is optimized to improve real-time SDN decision-making and the resulting user experience by increasing visibility to the forwarding plane," said Simon Stanley, contributing analyst with Heavy Reading, via Centec Networks' press release announcing the product. "This is an important step for fully realizing the SDN vision."
Gu also believes Centec Networks has differentiated the product through its supporting software. Combined, the offering offers five significant performance benefits, Centec Network asserts:
- Improved application-centric flow completion time and a better user experience
- Improved support for versatile network virtualization use cases via diverse tunneling overlay technology to support VXLAN, NVGRE, and the GENEVE protocol
- Improved flow-level visibility and control through the previously mentioned VM-aware processing and elephant flow detection capabilities, as well as use of Internet Protocol Flow Information eXport (IPFIX) technology and software-defined counters with N-flow technology that support three stages of general OpenFlow processing with up to 64k flow tables
- Improved fault protection mechanisms including hardware flow self-healing for equal-cost multi-path (ECMP) and link aggregation protocol (LAG) routing, and packet loss minimization on link failures
- Improved trouble-shooting, monitoring and analytics capabilities.
Both the silicon and its supporting software development kit are compliant with Open Compute Project (OCP) specifications.
"Centec's GoldenGate switching silicon provides an important new option for system designers in a segment that has been dominated by a single vendor," offered Bob Wheeler, principal analyst at The Linley Group, via the same press release. "GoldenGate is aimed at the density sweet spot of the emerging mainstream 10GbE and 40GbE market, and it establishes technology leadership through reduced cost and power as well as important new features as compared with the incumbent leader."
Gu says that the device is currently sampling; volume production is expected in the third quarter of 2015.
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