10 Gigabit Ethernet for the data center

* Fulcrum's 10 Gigabit chips appear in start-up's data center switches

Fulcrum Microsystems this week introduced six more members of its FocalPoint line of 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch chips, adding high-performance and low-latency routing.

The FM4000 series is designed for Ethernet in data centers, and could be used for high-performance computing, server and storage host interconnections, and data center aggregation.

In fact Fulcrum claims its switches can enable data-center networks to scale up to thousands of nodes. That's quite a data center.

Fulcrum says the FM4000 chips are "complete" Layer 2/3/4 IP switch/routers with a total throughput that can reach 360 million packets per second across up to 24 ports. The latency is just 300 nanoseconds as a Layer 3/4 router. Congestion management and access control lists operate at line rate. The chips support line-rate routing for both IPv4 and IPv6.

Fulcrum says the low latency and high density mean that the network can include up to 3,456 non-blocking nodes.

Start-up Arastra announced two data center switches based on the chips. The Arastra 7148S packs 48 ports of 10 Gigabit Ethernet into a 1U chassis and supports a wide range of 10 Gigabit and Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. The Arastra 7124S has 24 ports. They run Arastra's own operating system.

Arastra's take is that new servers will come with 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces standard, so it wants to provide data center switches that run at that speed. The switches are scheduled to ship in the first quarter of next year, when Fulcrum's chips will be shipping in volume.

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