Broadcom Tomahawk Silicon Set to Advance 25 GbE Networking

New chip includes over 7 billion transistors and can enable up to 3.2 terabits per second of throughput, advancing 25 GbE for 100 GbE.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Sep 24, 2014
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Broadcom today is announcing a major new silicon product family that is designed to help advance the emerging world of 25 Gigabit Ethernet networking.

In July of this year, Broadcom was one of the founding members of the 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium. Broadcom's new StrataXGS Tomahawk Series is an effort to help enable the 25 GbE world.

The StrataXGS Tomahawk silicon has over 7 billion transistors and can enable up to 3.2 terabits per second of switching capacity.

"Tomahawk is based on our proven and widely deployed StrataXGS switching architecture," Rochan Sankar, director, Product Marketing for Network Switching at Broadcom, told Enterprise Networking Planet. "It has comprehensive support for data center switching features, and at 3.2 terabits per second, switching bandwidth has been designed to meet the requirements of our wide base of cloud building customers."

Sankar added that the StrataXGS Tomahawk combines high-performance and configurable engines. The Tomahawk enables integrated L2-L4 packet processing, full forwarding and policy lookup/action, network virtualization/tunneling, instrumentation, and buffering, load balancing and network traffic engineering.

The StrataXGS Tomahawk does not necessarily replace any existing Broadcom platform. Sanker noted that it is a new platform for cloud-scale networking at 25/40/50/100 Gigabit Ethernet.

"We foresee the StrataXGS Tomahawk coexisting with the widely deployed StrataXGS Trident series," Sankar said. "As Tomahawk is poised to transform next-gen data center fabrics to 25/50/100GbE, it co-exists with our StrataXGS Trident line (in its 3rd generation), targeted for mainstream cloud, enterprise, and service provider data centers where 10G/40G connectivity and rich feature integration are desired. "

25 GbE

A key goal with the StrataXGS Tomahawk series is about enabling the 25 GbE world. Sankar said that the Tomahawk delivers the industry’s first high-density 25/50/100GbE switch chip, which can enable 128 ports of 25 GbE, 64 ports of 50GbE, or 32 ports of 100GbE.

"By deploying StrataXGS Tomahawk based switches, data center networks currently running 10GbE at the top-of-rack leaf level and 40GbE at the end-of-row spine level can upgrade to 25GE and 100GE interconnect, respectively, to accommodate growth in distributed server/storage workloads without any increase to network equipment footprint or cabling complexity," Sankar explained.

While Broadcom is clearly pushing for 25 GbE with Tomahawk, it still isn't losing focus on the core market either.

"Tomahawk is driving the next generation of cloud scale data center networks at 25GE/100GbE," Sankar said. "But it’s important to note that 10GbE/40GbE will continue to be an important and high-volume market for the foreseeable future."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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