PLX demo shows PCIe over fiber as data center clustering interconnect

SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- PLX Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLXT) will demonstrate PCI Express (PCIe) Gen3 switching over optical cabling at the upcoming PCI Special Interest Groups (PCI-SIG) Developers Conference (DevCon), June 22-23, Santa Clara, Calif.

The PLX DevCon demonstration will be complemented by a presentation by PLX devoted to the evolution of PCIe becoming a box-to-box rack clustering solution for next generation data centers.

The company contends that PCIe as a box-to-box interconnect for data centers using parallel optics will enable a wide variety of applications such as server, storage and GPGPU clustering. The DevCon demonstration will showcase peer-to-peer Gen3 high-performance at 8Gbps, per lane, between multiple endpoints represented as top of rack, bottom of rack, SSDs, Ethernet, and the Internet.

PCIe over fiber promises to offer higher performance and greater distance at a lower price than standard PCIe cabling used today, contends PLX. PCIe Gen3 in an eight-lane configuration can transfer 64Gbps, which is a six-fold improvement over 10Gig Ethernet and with significantly less power required. PLX was the first company in the industry to demonstrate PCIe Gen3 silicon.

“Connecting subsystems using PCI Express over optical cabling makes sense both economically and technically for data centers and cloud computing, particularly when compared to converting PCI Express to Ethernet or InfiniBand for short reaches, then reconverting back to PCI Express -- steps that exact myriad cost, power and latency penalties,” said Brad Smith, senior vice president at Lightcounting, LLC, a market research company covering high-speed optical interconnect technologies.

Smith added, “PLX is demonstrating that PCI Express can be used to connect subsystems together efficiently through switches, such as PLX’s Gen 3 devices, which can be used to create local switching clusters that deliver low latency, cost and power consumption, with less complexity than alternative schemes.”

The DevCon presentation, titled “Scaling Data Center Interconnects with PCI Express” by Ajoy Aswadhati, director of system products at PLX, will highlight how PCIe ties non-transparent bridging (NTB), I/O-sharing and cluster interconnects together to offer low-cost, low-power and high-performance solutions in the data center.

The PCIe Base Specification 3.0 dictates bidirectional 8GT/s of traffic per serial lane, thus enabling today’s PCIe Gen3 48-lane switches to manage 768Gbps of full-duplex peer-to-peer traffic. Due to the widespread usage of PCI and PCIe in computing, communications and industrial applications, this interconnect technology's ecosystem is widely deployed and its cost efficiencies as a fabric have become embraced industry-wide. Technology such as NTB has enabled PCIe to provide host-to-host connectivity. The presentation takes place June 22, 4:30 PM, Santa Clara Convention Center.

For more information on PCI-SIG DevCon, go to

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Patrick McLaughlin @cablingmag

Matt Vincent @CablingTweets


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