Arista Network’s Andy Bechtolsheim blogs that Intel’s acquisition of Fulcrum signals the inevitability of Merchant Silicon for Ethernet switching:
The race is on who can build the fastest switch chips. These chips are really hard to do. The challenges attract the kind of engineers who eat nails for breakfast. But even the best engineers are not enough. One also needs access to the latest chip technologies, the latest design flows, and the ability to express custom memories and data paths in order to get the highest throughput performance. This is the domain of full custom chip designs. Traditional ASIC flows have not kept up with custom flows, and the performance gap between full custom and ASIC flows is only widening with each generation of chip process technology. It requires significant investments to accelerate innovation in networking technology at the chip level. Intel’s acquisition of Fulcrum is perhaps the clearest sign yet that advances in networking chips are about to get back on Moore’s law (no pun intended).
So this begs the question; Are we going to see Ethernet and IB interfaces built into the CPU someday soon? Count on it. Read the Full Story.