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Cavium and XPliant Introduce a Fully Programmable Switch Silicon Family Scaling to 3.2 Terabits per Second

XPliant Packet Architecture (XPATM) Enables Data Plane Flexibility for SDN Without Compromising Raw Speed

SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Cavium, Inc., (NASDAQ: CAVM), a leading provider of semiconductor products that enable intelligent processing for enterprise, data center, cloud, service provider wired and wireless networking, and XPliant, Inc., a fabless Ethernet switch silicon provider, today introduced the CNX880xx line of Ethernet switch chips featuring the revolutionary XPliant Packet Architecture (patent pending) ("XPA") – an industry first, delivering no-compromise, high packet throughput on a fully programmable switch architecture. Cavium announced on July 30, 2014 a definitive agreement to acquire XPliant.

Cavium, Inc. Logo.

Global mobile data traffic will increase nearly 11-fold between 2013 and 2018 (61% CAGR), while cloud data center IP traffic will more than double between 2014 and 2017 (30% CAGR) according to Cisco's Visual Networking Index and Global Cloud Index. Software Defined Networking ("SDN"), virtualization and faster link speeds continue to emerge as the architectural solutions to alleviate these issues.

  • Performance: Dell'Oro is forecasting connections faster than 10G (25, 40, 50, 100G and beyond) will increase at an annual rate of 60% to $8.2B by 2018.
  • Flexibility: Data center networks need to be more agile, to support SDN and NFV initiatives. IDC predicts SDN will grow at over 89% annually, reaching $8B by 2018.
  • Flexibility using the XPA will allow new protocols to be implemented in weeks, not years.

Introducing the CNX880xx Programmable Switch Silicon Family

The CNX880xx family was built from the ground up to utilize XPA, allowing the design team to create a groundbreaking flexible switch without compromising on performance. Existing switches evolved from simple layer 2 bridges, and over time have accumulated many disparate features, resulting in an inefficient architecture.

The XPliant team took a fresh, original approach in developing the XPA technology.  Dedicated function blocks were replaced with an array of programmable packet engines and shared resources adaptable to perform the various operations required in the switch. The innovative XPA approach will enable the switch to be tailored to the requirements of new protocols with unprecedented flexibility. Software personalities will dictate the exact operation to be performed – for packet parsing, table look-ups, packet re-writes, fabric scheduling, and statistics and counters – without impacting performance.

The CNX880xx family of switch chips from Cavium and XPliant will provide:

  • Industry leading Ethernet bandwidth – 880 Gigabits per second to 3.2 Terabits per second in a single chip
  • Industry leading port density at 3.2T with many flexible configurations, including:
    • 32 ports of 100G
    • 64 ports of 40G or 50G
    • 128 ports of 10G or 25G
    • Various combinations of these port speeds
  • Support for the new 25G Ethernet Consortium specification for 25G on a single lane or 50G on two lanes.

XPA will be available on XPliant's CNX880xx Ethernet Switch product line, which is expected to sample in Q4, 2014. Evaluation boards will be available at the same time.

XPliant provides source code for a complete set of switching and routing functions as well as several network overlays via its SDK (software design kit).  The newest protocols such as GENEVE are already supported. As new protocols are introduced, updated personalities can be provided, even to switches that are installed in the network. Thus as innovations such as OpenFlow™ TTPs or VXLAN extensions are created, they can quickly be deployed across the network.  The SDK and a software simulator are available now, enabling XPliant customers to have their software debugged and ready to go when the chips arrive.

"Leading cloud-scale Internet companies need to cope with the rapid increase in traffic from mobile apps as well as video" said Eric Hayes, VP and general manager, Switch Platform Group. "With XPA, OEMs will be able to differentiate their products while drastically reducing the time to new service deployment, increasing automation and driving operational efficiency." 

Cavium's OCTEON® and ThunderX™ processors are excellent companions for providing the control plane CPU for switch products. Reference designs will also support other control plane CPU options.

"This new XPliant switch silicon featuring XPA is going to provide great benefits to the market" said JR Rivers, CEO and co-founder of Cumulus Networks. "The open and flexible nature of the architecture is very aligned with our vision and approach to networking."

The ability to update the Ethernet switch feature set provides several important business benefits:

  • Provide new protocol deployment in weeks, not years
  • Fast response to changing business requirements
  • Extend switch lifecycle, improving ROI. Change in protocol requirements will not render the switch obsolete like commonly available options
  • Switches can be re-deployed by adapting features to match new locations
  • Inventory management – using software personalities to adapt a single spare type to multiple network locations – reducing CapEx
  • OEM switch system vendors can create impactful, differentiated solutions by creating protocols for specific business opportunities

The XPliant family of switching chips target applications in cloud / enterprise data centers and service provider infrastructure, for both top-of-rack and backbone applications. They will also provide connectivity solutions for embedded applications. The combination of leading performance and unprecedented flexibility is attractive across all these segments.

"XPA is not an incremental approach to switching but rather a completely new paradigm, with the potential to change the economics of network switching," said Bob Wheeler, principal analyst for networking, The Linley Group. "Using XPA switches, customers can continue to evolve and add features without needing a hardware upgrade." 

"The architects pushing the limits of data center design are always looking for ways to innovate, but the fixed-feature switches of today limit what they can do" said Dan Pitt, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation. "Table Type Patterns and other tools ONF develops to enable protocol-independent forwarding open the door to a flexible physical infrastructure that responds to the dynamic needs of these data centers and we are delighted to see them being implemented and brought to market."

XPliant CNX880xx – along with Cavium's ThunderX, OCTEON, and LiquidIO® – will provide Cavium's customers comprehensive end to end solutions for compute, networking and storage, optimized for best performance, cost and power for next generation virtualized software defined infrastructure.

About Cavium, Inc.
Cavium is a leading provider of highly integrated semiconductor products that enable intelligent processing in enterprise, data center, cloud and wired & wireless service provider applications. Cavium offers a broad portfolio of integrated, software compatible processors ranging in performance from 100 Mbps to over 100 Gbps that enable secure, intelligent functionality in enterprise, data-center, broadband/consumer and access & service provider equipment. Cavium's processors are supported by ecosystem partners that provide operating systems, tool support, reference designs and other services. Cavium's principal offices are in San Jose, California with design team locations in California, Massachusetts, India and China. For more information, please visit: http://www.cavium.com.

ThunderX™, OCTEON®, NITROX®, LiquidIO® are registered trademarks of Cavium, Inc.

All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved. © Cavium, Inc. 2014.

Note on Forward-Looking Statements
This press release may contain forward-looking statements regarding future events that involve risks and uncertainties. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms such as "may," "will," "should," "could," "would," "estimate," "project," "believe," "anticipate," "plan," "expect," "intend" and similar expression intended to identify forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned that these forward-looking statements are only predictions and may differ materially from actual future events or results. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, as well as assumptions and current expectations. Our actual results, performance and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements as a result of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions. The risks and uncertainties that could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements include but are not limited to development of new products and technologies, including, but not limited to, CNX880xx and XPA; quality and performance of our and XPliant's products and technologies, including, but not limited to, CNX880xx and XPA; whether the merger with XPliant closes; whether we and Xpliant are successful in marketing our products; the rate at which our and XPliant's new products are adopted; rate of new design wins; product developments by our competitors; technological advances; pricing pressures; general economic conditions; manufacturing difficulties; and other risks and uncertainties described more fully in our documents filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission. More information about these and other risks that may impact Cavium's business are set forth in the "Risk Factors" section of our Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on August 1, 2014. All forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information available to us as of the date hereof and qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement, and we assume no obligation to revise or update these forward-looking statements. 

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SOURCE Cavium, Inc.

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