Marvell buys Innovium for cloud data-center expertise

Marvell is spending $1.1B and will get Innovium's high-speed chip for cloud providers, complementing its on-prem network offerings.

distributed / decentralized cloud network connections

Network-acceleration processors are becoming as popular as CPUs, and the latest big buy is Marvell Technology acquiring Innovium, a provider of networking solutions for cloud and edge data centers.

Marvell already has an extensive portfolio of Ethernet switches, and it recently acquired Inphi, a high-speed electro-optics leader for cloud data centers and carrier networks. Now comes the Innovium purchase.

Innovium’s Teralynx switching architecture is said to deliver ultra-low latency, high performance, power-optimized telemetry--critical in cloud-scale data centers. The Teralynx family of switches range from 1T/s to 25.6T/s of programmable switches with support for 10G to 800G while offering lower latency and the largest on-chip buffers, resulting in the best application performance.

This complements the Inphi purchase because Inphi's electro-optics interconnect portfolio combined with Innovium's cloud-optimized switches enable the combined company to offer a complete portfolio to cloud data-center hyperscalers.

Marvell says Innovium will also provide incremental engineering resources to focus on cloud-optimized silicon through the Teralynx platform as the 9K product family for the enterprise and carrier-switch market.

Innovium was founded in 2015 by three networking veterans: Puneet Agarwal, CTO and former CTO for switching at Broadcom; Mohammad Issa, vice president of engineering and former vice president of engineering at Broadcom; and Rajiv Khemani, Innovium’s CEO, who ran Intel’s network-processing business before becoming chief operating officer at Cavium, the Arm-based server CPU vendor that Marvell acquired in 2017. That’s a lot of networking talent under one roof.

Innovium’s most recent release came in May 2020, with the Teralynx 8 chip, with up to 25.6 Tb/sec of aggregate bandwidth that could drive 256 ports at 100 Gb/sec, 128 ports at 200 Gb/sec, 64 ports at 400 Gb/sec, or 32 ports at 800 Gb/sec.

When the deal is done, Marvell will have an impressive suite of processors:

  • High-speed Electro-Optical PAM4 and Coherent DSP chipsets
  • Pluggable data-center interconnect (DCI) modules
  • Octeon networking processors
  • Custom Arm-based server CPUs
  • Full custom ASICs
  • Flash and HDD-based storage controllers
  • And on closing the acquisition of Innovium, cloud-optimized Ethernet switches.

The deal is a $1.1 billion all-stock transaction and expected to close by the end of the calendar year.

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