Microsemi debuts Switchtec PAX Advanced Fabric PCIe switch to deal with composable/disaggregated infrastructures

Microsemi Corp. announced Thursday availability of its Switchtec PAX advanced fabric Gen3 PCIe switch providing high-performance fabric connectivity for scalable, multi-host systems and just a bunch of flash (JBOF) supporting single root input/output (I/O) virtualization (SR-IOV), NVMe and multi-function endpoints.

The Microsemi Switchtec PAX Gen3 Advanced Fabric PCIe Switch line comprises programmable and high-reliability PCIe Gen3 switches supporting high performance PCIe fabric connectivity, multi-host sharing of SR-IOV endpoints, up to 96 lanes, 48 ports, 24 virtual switch partitions, and hot- and surprise-plug controllers for each port.

The switch family also features advanced error containment, comprehensive diagnostics and debug capabilities, a wide breadth of I/O interfaces, and an integrated MIPS processor. PAX switches utilize a system-on-chip architecture that optionally enables customer differentiated solutions through firmware customization and enhancements.

The Switchtec PAX family includes switches from 24 lanes to 96 lanes, providing high-performance PCIe fabric connectivity overcoming the limitations of the PCIe Specification for rack scale multi-host systems; multi-host sharing of SR-IOV and multifunction endpoints; virtualization of PCIe domains and SR-IOV NVMe solid state drives (SSDs); and software development kit (SDK) for virtualization of other SR-IOV endpoints, and for enclosure management.

It also features flexible port bifurcation, from x2 to x16 lanes per port; highest port density, with up to 48 ports; advanced error reporting; error containment for surprise-plug and unplug to prevent system crashes; advanced diagnostics and debug features to identify, diagnose and fix problems; and Separate Refclk Independent SSC (SRIS) for cabled PCIe and lower cost system designs.

Hyperconverged systems are evolving towards composable /disaggregated infrastructures (C/DI) such as rack scale architecture to meet the rapidly changing demands on resources and storage capacity of next-generation applications. PAX advanced fabric PCIe switches provide a scalable, low latency and cost-effective solution to the disaggregation of computing, networking, graphics processing units (GPUs) and storage resources.  

These PAX PCIe switches, which are flexibly interconnected with configurable high-speed fabric links, virtualize PCIe domains and SR-IOV endpoints. System development is simplified through a fabric application programming interface (API) and the ability to utilize off-the-shelf NVMe host drivers, significantly reducing time-to-market for complex multi-host systems.  

“As we work closely with industry leaders, it became clear there’s demand for Microsemi to expand our PCIe switch portfolio to support next-generation disaggregated architectures,” said Derek Dicker, vice president and business unit manager for performance storage at Microsemi. “Our PAX advanced fabric PCIe switch is pin-compatible to our PSX storage and PFX fanout PCIe switches, providing our customers a simple upgrade path to building SR-IOV-enabled and composable disaggregated systems while supporting our ability to gain market share.”

According to market research firm IDC’s February report titled, “Composable/Disaggregated Infrastructure (C/DI)—Addressable Market Opportunity,” the total worldwide addressable opportunity for vendors with C/DI is $34.5 billion in 2017. The firm also expects this opportunity will grow at a modest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4 percent and reach $45 billion in 2020.

Microsemi’s Switchtec PAX advanced fabric PCIe switch is well-aligned to these growth trends, as it enables customers to leverage the device for the development of next-generation C/DIs.

Microsemi’s Switchtec PAX advanced fabric PCIe switches are sampling now to lead customers.

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