Broadcom debuts Tomahawk 3, its high bandwidth Ethernet switch chip at 12.8 terabits per second

Broadcom Limited announced recently that it has delivered the StrataXGS Tomahawk 3 switch series, demonstrating a 12.8 terabits/sec of Ethernet switching performance in a single device. The Tomahawk 3 series represents its initial shipping product that supports high-density, standards based 400GbE, 200GbE, and 100GbE switching and routing for hyperscale cloud networks, fortifying Broadcom’s position as the market leader in raw Ethernet performance, silicon execution, and switch product velocity.

The Tomahawk 3 switch series was developed, manufactured, and shipped to customers a mere 14 months following the introduction of the previous 6.4Tbps product generation, while delivering 40% lower power consumption per 100GbE switch port and up to 75% lower cost per 100GbE switch port.

The StrataXGS Tomahawk 3 Series enables the next major leap in hyperscale data center network throughput, supporting 32 x 400GbE, 64 x 200GbE, or 128 x 100GbE line rate switching and routing on a single chip. It delivers 40 percent reduction in power per 100Gbps, and up to 75 percent lower cost per 100Gbps, versus alternatives; and includes a new, integrated 12.8Tbps shared-buffer architecture offers three to five times higher incast absorption and provides high performance and low end-to-end latency for RoCEv2 based workloads.

The line also includes Broadview Gen 3 integrated network instrumentation feature set and software suite, providing full visibility to network operators into packet flow behavior, traffic management state, and switch internal performance. It comprehensively supports all packet processing and traffic management requirements for next-gen hyperscale network use cases: >2X IP route forwarding scale, 2X ECMP scale, Dynamic Load Balancing and Group Multipathing, In-Band Network Telemetry, Elephant Flow detection and re-prioritization.

The series also delivers robust connectivity using 256 instances of the industry’s best performing and longest-reach 50G PAM-4 integrated Serdes core, enabling long-reach (LR) East-West optical links and Direct-Attached-Copper (DAC) in-rack cabling in the data center, fully compliant to new IEEE standards for 50/100/200/400GbE. It comes implemented with silicon area and power efficiency on proven, high-volume 16nm process technology node, ensuring fastest time to CY2018 production network deployment for hyperscale customers.

The growth of hyperscale cloud networks is at an upward inflection point, with the sheer number of hyperscale data centers expected to double by 2020, and the amount of machine-to-machine traffic within such data centers expected to increase 5 times over that period.

Emergent workloads for deep learning, using massively distributed neural networks and alternative computing nodes, are demanding a quantum leap in bandwidth to dense 100/200/400GbE links spanning high-radix, ultra-low-latency network topologies.

The nascent trend towards disaggregated, high-density flash storage, interconnected with compute nodes via NVMe-over-Fabrics (NVMeoF) and RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCEv2), is concurrently driving step functions in network throughput and collapsed end-to-end access times. With its market leading switching performance, 100/200/400GbE port density, and rich feature set optimized for cloud use cases, Broadcom’s Tomahawk 3 solution is ideal to serve as the backbone for the next generation scale-out of hyperscale data center networks.

“The Tomahawk franchise is the flagship for cutting-edge, single-chip performance and integration among Broadcom’s multi-vectored Ethernet switch silicon portfolio, tailored to the unique and rigorous demands of hyperscale data center operators,” said Ram Velaga, senior vice president and general manager, Switch Products at Broadcom. “I am proud of our world-class engineering team for innovating and delivering the 12.8Tbps Tomahawk 3 chip in a record 14 months after we released Tomahawk 2. We’ve applied great focus and diligence working with our hyperscale customers to ensure this product is the ideal fit for their upcoming high-radix 100/400GbE deployments and aggressive Terabit-per-dollar and Terabit-per-Watt targets. Broadcom is proving yet again that customers can rely on us to lead the industry on switch silicon performance and execution at every generation.”

“Broadcom continues to execute on Ethernet switch ASSPs matched to the priority needs of hyperscalers: faster port speeds, dense network radix, extended serdes reach, robust buffering and load balancing, scalable forwarding, software-defined instrumentation, slashed cost and power per Gbps, and most of all, time to market,” said Bob Wheeler, principal analyst at The Linley Group. “Tomahawk 3 delivers on these requirements, meeting the anticipated onslaught of deep learning and RDMA-based storage workloads over 400GbE-upgraded cloud networks. Being the first to deliver a 12.8Tbps switch—enabled by 56Gbps PAM4 serdes in 16nm technology—is a major achievement, and it extends Broadcom’s leadership position in hyperscale networking.”

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