Broadcom Intros StrataXGS Tomahawk Switches for Scale-Out Data Centers

Switch employs 25G Ethernet, a standard developed by Broadcom, along with Google, Microsoft, Mellanox and Arista

John Rath

September 24, 2014

2 Min Read
Broadcom Intros StrataXGS Tomahawk Switches for Scale-Out Data Centers
Network Function Virtualization enables common network functions in commodity hardware instead of specialized equipment.

Broadcom announced a new line of StrataXGS Tomahawk data center switches that deliver 3.2 Terabits per second (Tbps) switching capacity, extreme port density and SDN-optimized engines in a single chip (SDN stands for Software Defined Networking).

Catering to next-generation cloud fabrics, mega data centers and high performance computing environments the new switches pack in more than 7 billion integrated transistors and enable migration to all-25Gbps per lane interconnect and a 2.5x increase in link performance, the company said.

"Our StrataXGS Tomahawk Series will usher in the next wave of data centers running 25G and 100G Ethernet, while delivering the network visibility required to operate large-scale cloud computing, storage and HPC fabrics," said Rajiv Ramaswami, executive vice president of Broadcom's Infrastructure and Networking group. "This is the culmination of a multi-year cooperative effort with our partners and customers to prepare for this transition."

Standard developed by Broadcom, Google, Microsoft, others

Broadcom defined and co-founded the 25G/50G Ethernet specification as an industry standard, according to Ramaswami.

With 3.2 terabits per second of raw speed, the latest data center switch is alone in the market to support 32 ports of 100 gigabit-per-second Ethernet links. Christian Plante, senior product line manager for the StrataXGS product lines points out in a blog post that this single chip, no bigger than the back of your hand, can switch the equivalent of 1.5 million Netflix streaming movies at the same time.

Industry heavyweights formed the 25G Ethernet Consortium this past summer to collaborate and form an industry-standard, interoperable Ethernet specification for 25 Gbps and 50 Gbps (dual-lane link)Ethernet links. Google, Mellanox Technologies, Arista Networks and Microsoft joined Broadcom in the effort.

Deep instrumentation, new packet processing engines

Featuring extensive application flow and debug statistics, Broadcom's new BroadView instrumentation feature set enables data center operators to have full visibility of network and switch-level analytics, the company said. The Tomahawk also lets operators look at link health and utilization monitors, streaming network congestion detection and packet tracing capabilities.

The new data center switch line also features new FleXGS packet processing engines, which enable operators to adapt to changing workloads and control their networks. Broadcom offers an extensive suite of user-configurable functions for flow processing, security, network virtualization, measurement and monitoring, congestion management and traffic engineering.

These engines provide in-field configurable forwarding and classification database profiles and more than 12 times greater application policy scale compared to previous-generation switches.

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