Broadcom is launching new Ethernet switch chips today, targeting high-end uses but also expanding that “high-end” target to include some smaller systems.
The new chips are part of the StrataDNX family, which generally targets a bigger scale of system than Broadcom’s more famous StrataXGS. The latter group includes the Trident and Trident II chip, which have dominated the Ethernet switch market, and their successor, the recently announced Tomahawk line.
The StrataXGS chips stress integration rather than scale and are found in devices such as top-of-rack switches. The DNX line typically targets the network core, where scale is more important, and where chassis-based systems split the switch fabric into two parts: a fabric chip that sits on a switching card, and a forwarding chip that sits on every line card.
The three new StrataDNX chips are:
- Qumran (more formally, the BCM88370): a self-contained switch chip with 800 Gb/s capacity, suitable for top-of-rack switches.
- Jericho (the BCM88670): a packet processor and traffic manager with 720 Gb/s capacity; it’s the aforementioned line-card chip.
- The BCM88770, also called the FE 3600: the aforementioned switching chip. Alone, it has throughput of 3.6 Tb/s. Broadcom claims it can be combined with Jerichos to create a mega switch fabric with 100 Tb/s of capacity.
The DNX line tends to target large-scale core equipment, and indeed, hyperscale data-center switching is one application the company is suggesting for the new chips. But Broadcom is hoping the new chips expand the family’s scope to include aggregation layers in the data center, enterprise, and service provider networks.
Broadcom is even pitching DNXs for the top-of-rack switch, as in the case of Qumran. It wouldn’t be a substitute for a Trident or Tomahawk chip, but would be a more expensive specialty case. For example, it could fit into a switch that requires a deep memory buffer for applications such as downshifting traffic from a higher-speed port to a lower-speed one.
The new DNX chips are sampling now. Broadcom isn’t giving a timeframe for production volumes.