New low-latency 10 GE switch chips

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According to HPCwire yesterday

Fulcrum Microsystems today announced six new members of its industry-leading FocalPoint family of 10-Gigabit Ethernet switch chips — adding high-performance routing with its FM4000-series devices.

…The FM4000 chips are designed for datacenter switching platforms for high-performance computing, server and storage host interconnect, and datacenter aggregation applications. They are complete layer 2/3/4 IP switch/routers with full line-rate performance on all ports with a total throughput of 360 million packets per second. Fulcrum’s unique design technology means that the FocalPoint FM4000 chips boast the lowest latency in the industry — 300 nanoseconds as a full layer 3/4 router. This provides a highly responsive network fabric that exceeds the performance of specialty fabrics such as InfiniBand and Fibre Channel, and is well suited for the millions of messages per second performance needed for high-performance clustered-computing applications.

The 24-port density of the chip — also an industry best — enables it to be the interconnect foundation for extremely large clustered systems. When used in fat tree (or Clos) network architectures, the density and low latency mean the network can scale to 3,456 non-blocking nodes in three tiers of switching — well beyond that when additional tiers or managed under-provisioning are introduced.

According to the release, networking startup Arastra is the first company to build a product around the chip.

“The next generation of servers will have 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces standard on the motherboard, creating a need for cost-effective low-latency 10G Ethernet switches in the datacenter,” said Mansour Karam, director of marketing for Arastra. “Our new Arastra 7100 datacenter switch family uses the Fulcrum FM4000 chip to deliver a high-performance scalable 10G network solution that enables 10 Gigabit Ethernet to each server, improving server efficiency and utilization.”

There are lots of interesting things going on in networking these days (see this post on Woven Systems), which is important as 100,000 node machines are on the near term horizon.