SAN JOSE, Calif. Fulcrum Microsystems is rounding out its family of 10 Gbit/second data Ethernet switches for the data center with new devices that add on routing capabilities. The company has also announced a design win with a new startup emerging from stealth mode.
The FocalPoint FM4000 chips add a variety of layer three and four routing features to the existing FM2000-class physical layer switches. The new chips also support congestion management features such as access control lists, backward congestion notification and class-based traffic pause in an effort to gain an edge on Fibre Channel and Infiniband interconnects.
Standards groups are still defining congestion management standards for Ethernet as part of an effort to run Fibre Channel protocols. "There is a lot of programmability in our algorithms, but when all the dust settles we will have to rev our chips for the emerging standards," said Mike Zeile, vice president of marketing for Fulcrum.
The FM4000 series can parse up to 128 bytes of data and can be linked together to support fat-tree and clos networking architectures. The chips will cost about $25 per port and have about 300 nanoseconds latency, up from about $20/port and 200 nanoseconds latency for the simpler, existing parts.
The chips support up to 24 10 Gbit links as well as a mix of Gbit Ethernet connections. Fulcrum uses novel asynchronous circuit designs developed at Cal Tech to create the 130nm parts that dissipate just 1W per port.
"We are getting the same power consumption as Broadcom although we are using a process generation behind their current products," said Zeile.
Startup Arastra Inc., founded by Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim, will use the chips in its 1U-sized 48-port DX7100 system. The stackable aggregation switch will consume just 12 W and cost $400 on a per-port basis.
The DX7100, currently in beta trials, will run applications and agents developed by users based on the startup's application programming interface. The switch will ship in early 2008.