The GoldenGate chip, as it’s nicknamed, isn’t meant to attack Broadcom at the high end of the market. That’s where San Jose-based Cavium, with its XPliant Packet Architecture, intends to battle the chip giant.
Rather, GoldenGate has its crosshairs on Broadcom’s Trident II chip line — the current face of the franchise — claiming a lower price point as sales leverage. Public pricing information was not immediately available for either chip line.
Centec has raised only $28 million since being founded in 2005 and employs about 150, but keeps overhead low by operating out of China.
More important, Centec finally reached parity with leading competitors’ performance. CEO James Sun has been frank about the fact that Centec’s previous chips, going back to about 2007, didn’t have the performance to be relevant in the market. But that all changed with the company’s previous chip generation, GreatBelt, released in 2013 and nicknamed after the bridge in Denmark.
The GoldenGate chip brings Centec to the 10-Gb/s market, with 1.2 Tb/s of total throughput. It’s targeting the mainstream segment of Broadcom’s switching franchise — that company’s newest line, Tomahawk, claims throughput of 3.2 Tb/s. The new Centec chip can also provide 100-Gb/s uplinks for more advanced work.
XPliant and Barefoot Networks are offering protocol flexibility for Ethernet switching, but Centec hasn’t gone down that route yet. “Even tunneling protocols are stabilizing,” says Sun. “You don’t expect to see new tunneling protocols any time soon.”
Instead of protocols, Sun says Centec has put more energy into management and analytics.
“We actually think it’s more important to SDN than new protocols,” says Sun.
Broadcom has also ramped up its focus on analytics. The company’s Tomahawk chip includes monitoring and analytics capabilities, a feature set named Broadview.