Mellanox's Gigabit Open Ethernet-based switch enables 10/25/40/50/100 GE data center fabrics

Spectrum, the next generation of the company's Open Ethernet-based switch IC, overcomes current data center challenges by providing a highly flexible and scalable solution that allows businesses to deploy the hardware-software combinations best suited to meet their unique needs.

Jun 18th, 2015
Mellanox's Gigabit Open Ethernet-based switch enables 10/25/40/50/100 GE data center fabrics
Mellanox's Gigabit Open Ethernet-based switch enables 10/25/40/50/100 GE data center fabrics

Mellanox Technologies(NASDAQ: MLNX) has announced what it bills as the industry’s first 100 Gigabit Ethernet, Open Ethernet-based, non-blocking switch. Spectrum, the next generation of the company's Open Ethernet-based switch IC, overcomes current data center challenges by providing a highly flexible and scalable solution that allows businesses to deploy the hardware-software combinations best suited to meet their unique needs. With Spectrum, Mellanox cites itself as the first to offer end-to-end 10/25/40/50 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity.

“With the exponential growth of data, the need for increased bandwidth, flexibility, and scalability becomes a necessity to stay competitive,” comments Gilad Shainer, vice president of marketing at Mellanox Technologies. “Spectrum, the newest edition to our Open Ethernet switch portfolio, enables our customers and users with the highest flexibility, performance and scalability. With Spectrum, data centers can migrate from 10 to 25, or from 40 to 50 or 100 Gigabit Ethernet, and be able to keep up with the escalating network demands for data retrieval and processing.”

The company notes that computing and storage infrastructures have reached a critical point, due to the convergence of dozens of industry trends pushing them to the brink as data sets grow exponentially, and threatening the unique competitive differentiator of many businesses. The company further contends that commonly deployed closed-solutions, those that require the use of proprietary hardware-software combinations, leave many organizations unable to optimize their data centers to meet their business needs, making it difficult to garner actionable insights from expanding data sets. Based on the Open Ethernet architecture, Spectrum offers Mellanox’s customers the choice of Application Programming Interface (API) for faster time-to-market and greater flexibility, while also providing 25, 50 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet performance, ensuring the data centers can drive their business forward.

Mellanox asserts that its Spectrum switch delivers non-blocking 6.4Tb/s full wire speed switching and routing capacity with industry-leading latency and lowest power consumption. Spectrum is billed as "the world’s first non-blocking 100 Gigabit Ethernet switch, and its deterministic zero packet loss performance and mega-scale can make it "the most efficient building block for cloud, Web 2.0 and enterprise applications, processing and fulfilling requests in real-time," says the company. As a founding member of the 25G Ethernet Consortium, Mellanox says its Spectrum switch is positioned to lead the transition to enhanced intra-rack connectivity of 25Gb/s and 50Gb/s to the servers.

“We are forecasting a very strong uptake in 100 Gigabit Ethernet data center switching, with shipments increasing from approximately ten thousand in 2014 to over ten million by 2019,” comments Seamus Crehan, president of Crehan Research. “With the introduction of this high-density 100 Gigabit Ethernet switch, Mellanox is in a position to take advantage of the pent-up bandwidth demand in cloud data centers, where it already has had considerable success with its high-speed low-latency adapter products.”

Data center operators are embracing Software Defined Networking (SDN) to achieve scalability and agility, by leveraging full, centralized visibility and traceability of the network. Mellanox says its Spectrum platform provides an advanced monitoring interface for continuous tracking of bandwidth and congestion, and programmable load balancing capabilities to resolve congestion swiftly and efficiently. Flow-based policy enforcement is accomplished with a flexible pipeline through protocols such as OpenFlow, without compromising performance, and allowing virtually unlimited sequential policies on a flow.

“The need for increased speed and ability to customize data center networks to meet expanding business needs is critical for the modern application-dependent enterprise,” says Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., research director, data center, cloud and SDN at IHS. “Open Ethernet delivering increased network programmability, choice of switch hardware components and switch OS will play an important role within the data center. The Spectrum-based switching and connectivity products from Mellanox will be attractive to enterprises building high performance and scalable data centers.”

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