Mellanox releases Spectrum-2, its scalable 200 and 400 gigabit open Ethernet switch offering



Mellanox Technologies, a supplier of high-performance, end-to-end smart interconnect solutions for data center servers and storage systems, launched Thursday Spectrum-2, its scalable 200 gigabit and 400 gigabit Open Ethernet switch solution. Spectrum-2 is designed to set new records of data center scalability, more than 10 times higher than market competitors, and reduces data center operational costs by delivering 1.3 times better power efficiency. Moreover, Spectrum-2 provides new levels of programmability and optimizes routing capabilities for building efficient Ethernet-based compute and storage infrastructures.

Spectrum-2’s design provides IT managers the capability to fully optimize their network for specific customer requirements, and to maximize their data center return on investment. Moreover, Spectrum-2 delivers unmatched power efficiency when compared to alternative offerings, improving data center total cost of ownership. The solution implements a complete set of the network protocols within the switch ASIC in an efficient way, providing users with all the functionality needed, out-of-box.

Additionally, Spectrum-2 includes a flexible parser and packet modifier which can be programmed to process new types of future protocols, thereby future proofing the data center.

Spectrum-2 provides Ethernet connectivity for up to 16 ports of 400GbE, 32 ports of 200GbE, 64 ports of 100GbE and 128 ports of 50GbE and 25GbE, and enables a rich set of enhancements, including increased flexibility and port density, to build a variety of switch platforms optimized for cloud, hyperscale, enterprise data center, big data, artificial intelligence, financial, storage and more applications.

Spectrum-2 extends the capabilities of the first generation of Spectrum, which is deployed in thousands of data centers around the world. Spectrum enables IT managers to achieve leading performance and efficiency for 10G infrastructures and higher, and to effectively and economically migrate from 10G to 25G, 50G and 100G speeds. Spectrum capabilities were highlighted in a Tolly test report which demonstrated superior performance versus competitor products.

Spectrum-2 maintains the same API as Spectrum, for porting software onto the ASIC via the Open SDK/SAI API or Linux upstream driver (Switchdev), and supports all of the standard network operating systems and interfaces including Cumulus Linux, SONIC, standard Linux distributions and more.

Spectrum-2 also supports an extensive set of telemetry capabilities, including the latest in-band network telemetry standard, which provide operators with full visibility into their network and allow them to monitor, diagnose and analyze every aspect of operations. This greatly simplifies data center management and enables IT managers to fully optimize the network to their data center application’s needs.

Spectrum-2 provides adaptive routing and load balancing while guaranteeing Zero Packet Loss and Unconditional Port Performance. These capabilities enable predictable and highest network performance. The solution also doubles data capacity while providing the lowest latency (300 nanoseconds), 1.4 times lower than alternative offerings. Furthermore, Spectrum-2 is the ideal foundation for Ethernet storage fabrics to connect the next generation of high performance flash based storage platforms, and combines cloud agility and scalability with enterprise reliability.

“Spectrum-2 Open Ethernet switch enables our customers and partners to meet the voracious demands of data speed, data processing and real time data analytics, and to gain competitive advantages,” said Gilad Shainer, vice president of marketing at Mellanox Technologies. “With 10 times better scalability, 1.3 times better power efficiency, full programmability and flexibility, and the capability to seamlessly migrate to 200G and 400G data speeds, Spectrum-2 provides data centers with the ability to maximize return on investment and future proof their investment.”

“Data Center customers are looking to significantly increase the Ethernet switch bandwidth in their networks while simultaneously raising the levels of programmability and visibility,” said Seamus Crehan, President, Crehan Research. “The Spectrum-2 switch from Mellanox not only addresses these needs, but does so with a cost-effective Open Ethernet solution.”

“Enterprise adoption of off-premises cloud services in conjunction with adoption of data driven computation using artificial intelligence (AI) techniques and machine learning (Ml) are some of the key drivers for 200GE and 400GE networking in the data center. In addition to speed, the rapid pace of innovation in cloud service provider data centers demands a programmable network where new protocols can be introduced without changing switch hardware,” said Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., research director and advisor, Data Center Research Practice, IHS Markit. “In a recent IHS Markit report, we learnt that off-premises cloud service revenue is expected to hit $343 billion in 2021, up from 126 billion in 2016; this will drive the need for high speed and power efficient programmable networking.”

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