Picking up the pace on acquisitions for the year, Cisco announced intent to acquire Memoir Systems, a developer of semiconductor memory intellectual property and tools that enable ASIC vendors to build programmable network switches with increasing speeds. The news comes one week after Cisco announced acquisition of OpenStack cloud player Metacloud.
Memoir technology is already part of Cisco's Nexus 9000 switches and its "algorithmic memory" is the IP prize, allowing Cisco to leverage it in future products, advance ASIC innovations and improve memory capabilities and performance.
Cisco networking products are nothing without extreme performance, as businesses demand higher port density (feeds) and faster line rates (speeds) of 40Gb/s, 100Gb/s and beyond. Integrating faster processor speeds, parallel architectures and multicore processors certainly helps, but with much of what Cisco products do living in memory, the need to stay on pace with speeds, programming requirements and port density requires that memory in ASICs keep up.
Cisco Senior Vice President of Business Development Hilton Romanski notes in a blog post that Memoir licenses its soft-logic IP, which speeds up memory access by up to 10 times and also reduces the overall footprint this memory takes up in typical switch ASICs. By Memoir's own description, its patented Algorithmic Memory uses the power of algorithms to increase the performance of existing embedded memory macros – up to 10X more Memory Operations Per Second (MOPS) -- and lowers area and power consumption.
The Memoir technology allows the development of switch and router ASICs with speeds, feeds and costs typically not possible with traditional physical memory design techniques.
Old Cisco ties
Santa Clara, California-based Memoir develops a portfolio of products to serve networking, general computing and mobile needs. It's Renaissance products have been licensed to numerous companies, including IBM.
Co-founders Da Chuang and Sundar Iyer are both former Cisco employees, having co-lead its network memory group. Cisco acquired Iyer's Nemo Systems, which specialized in memory algorithms, in 2005.
Memoir will fall under Cisco’s Insieme business unit. The companies expect to complete the acquisition in the first quarter of Cisco's fiscal 2015.