SAN JOSE, Calif.– Broadcom announced its first Ethernet switch to support new network virtualization standards. The StrataXGS Trident II Series can handle up to 104 10 Gbit/second Ethernet ports thanks to new memory techniques.
The Trident II supports two parallel standards for network virtualization from the Internet Engineering Task Force. Both help cloud service providers support jobs from diverse customers by running virtual Layer 2 traffic on physical Layer 3 resources aka L2oL3.
Broadcom co-authored the IETF’s Virtual Extended LANs (VXLANs) specification with Cisco Systems, VMWare and others. The new chip also supports network virtualization using generic routing encapsulation (NVGRE), a similar specification drafted by Dell and VMWare-rival Microsoft for its HyperV virtualization technology.
The two use different packet formats but achieve the same goals—support for as many as 8,000 different users and 16,000 virtual machine abstractions, said Sujal Das, a product line director at Broadcom. The dataplane portions of the spec are “carved in stone” at IETF, but VMWare and Microsoft are still working on delivering higher-level management features based on the technology, he said.
“This is one of the biggest practical use cases of software-defined networking,” Das said. “The [separate] OpenFlow specification has a lot of industry hype, but there are very few practical applications of it today because the spec is in a very preliminary stage,” he added.
OpenFlow proponents aim to reduce the cost and complexity of today’s routers and switches by moving network tasks to servers and broadly-used programming environments.