The StrataXGS Trident-II+, a drop-in replacement for the Trident II, arrives as Broadcom tries to spread its Ethernet switch franchise into new areas. The recently announced StrataDNX targets service providers and the core network of the cloud, while the upcoming Tomahawk family is built specifically for hyperscale data center deployments.
The Trident family has aimed more at the enterprise, and Trident II+ continues that theme with the promise of stretching the specs of high-end enterprise top-of-rack (ToR) switches.
Trident-II+ has twice the performance of Trident II when it comes to VXLAN, NVGRE, and the pre-standard implementations of Geneve, the superset protocol that supports both. (For the rest of this article, we’re using “VXLAN” as shorthand for all three, and for MPLS and shortest-path bridging (SPB), two more tunneling formats. Trident-II+ supports them all.)
Broadcom is using this added performance to pitch the ToR, rather than a virtual switch, as the vehicle for creating and terminating VXLAN tunnels.
“CPU cycles are very precious to the enterprise,” says Rochan Sankar, Broadcom’s senior director of switching products. “We’re seeing a lot of preference for doing that tunneling in the ToR itself.”
Trident-II+ can also support eight 100-Gb/s links, but Broadcom expects the chips to be used in 10-Gb/s environments for at least a couple more years. More than 60 percent of the installed base is still on Gigabit Ethernet, with 10 Gb/s not becoming a majority until 2018, says Rochan Sankar, Broadcom’s senior director of switching products.
The chips are sampling now; Broadcom isn’t announcing a timeframe for general availability.
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