Mellanox has an answer to Cisco, Arista

New SwitchX-2 processor lowers latency to 170 ns, designed for SDN

Data center switch maker Mellanox Technologies this week unveiled a new processor designed to optimize its switches for software-defined networking (SDN).

The company's SwitchX-2 processor includes capabilities such as remote configurable routing tables, support for overlay networks, and SDN-optimized software interfaces. SwitchX-2 is intended to enable IT managers to program and centralize their server and storage interconnect management and virtualize their data center network.

Citing data from IDC, Mellanox says the SDN/OpenFlow market is expected to reach $2 billion by 2016.

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SwitchX-2 is based on Mellanox's Virtual Protocol Interconnect technology, which is designed to allow simultaneous connection to InfiniBand or Ethernet with integrated gateways to legacy data center and storage systems. Utilizing RDMA-based 56Gbps Ethernet and InfiniBand, SwitchX-2 features 4Tbps switching capacity, 170 nanosecond latency, hardware-based L2/L3 congestion management and hardware-based data error correction to enable the creation of large, flat SDN networks.

Cisco recently rolled out a switch designed to lower latency to 190 ns for high-frequency trading environments. This switch is expected to compete with InfiniBand/Ethernet offerings from Mellanox, as well as Ethernet switches from Arista. Arista itself recently unveiled its lowest-latency switch, the 7150S, which is also expected to face stiff competition from Cisco's Nexus 3548 and those from Mellanox using the new SwitchX-2.

Mellanox said SwitchX-2 will begin emerging in its SwitchX-based Ethernet and InfiniBand switches toward the end of the year.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 25 years, 21 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

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