Fulcrum, KeyEye unveil 10-Gig, Cat 6 interconnect platform

May 15, 2006 -- The jointly demonstrated platform, incorporating Fulcrum's 24-port switch chip and KeyEye's 10-Gig, Cat 6 transceiver, targets data center applications including cluster and blade computing interconnects.

At Interop 2006, held May 2 - 4 in Las Vegas, NV, Fulcrum Microsystems (www.fulcrummicro.com) and KeyEye Communications (www.keyeye.net ) demonstrated a 10-Gigabit Ethernet interconnect platform utilizing Fulcrum's FocalPoint FM2224 device, a low-latency, 24-port switch chip, and KeyEye's KX1001, a single-chip 10-Gigabit Ethernet Category 6 transceiver. The platform is aimed at high-performance data center applications including cluster and blade computing interconnects.

The demonstration also used Fulcrum's FocalPoint evaluation platform, a switch system designed to allow networking system manufacturers to quickly test the capabilities and performance of the device and to begin software development for their own systems. The evaluation platform contains 12 CX4 copper connectors, two re-timed and powered CX4 modules for copper and integrated fiber links, and two each of SFP, XFP, and X2 Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) form-factor modules for optical and copper transceivers. For the demonstration, the KeyEye KX1001 Category 6 transceiver was integrated into a Category 6 X2 module that plugs into the platform.

"We want to demonstrate that there's a growing ecosystem for 10-Gigabit data center solutions that offers not only the latency and performance levels necessary, but also the cabling options that meet the needs of data center managers," said Mike Zeile, vice president of marketing for Fulcrum. "The combination of FocalPoint with KeyEye's transceiver makes a compelling solution for cost-effective, large-scale, 'fat tree' interconnect architectures."

"With the KX1001, data centers now have a lower cost Category 6 cabling alternative for short reach 10-Gigabit Ethernet applications," added Fred Lancia, vice president of sales and product marketing for KeyEye. "The combination of the FocalPoint FM2224 and the KeyEye KX1001 transceiver offers a low power, low-latency solution over cost-effective structured copper cabling for high-performance applications."

Offering 24 ports of wire-speed 10-Gigabit Ethernet connectivity and less than 200 ns of latency, Fulcrum says its FocalPoint FM2224 device offers requisite density and performance for Ethernet-based interconnect applications. The company says the device's low latency and rich set of data center features enables the build-out of multi-tier, 'fat tree' systems with thousands of non-blocking ports, while maintaining sub-microsecond latency from any port to any other port on a network.

KeyEye's single-chip, 10-Gigabit copper media transceivers target both Ethernet and InfiniBand systems; the KX1001 device is designed for Ethernet and other 10-Gigabit interconnect applications. Consuming less than 3.7 watts of power, with latency less than 150 ns, the device can be used to create Category 6 X2, XPAK, XFP, and XENPAK modules, which the company says can replace optical MSA solutions at a fraction of the cost.

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