Silicon photonics enabled end-to-end server-to-switch systems

March 21, 2017 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Cavium, Inc., and Elenion Technologies have announced an end-to-end reference architecture for Next Generation Enterprise and Cloud Data Centers incorporating Cavium's QLogic Network Interface Cards (NICs) and XPliant®-based switches, and Elenion's Silicon Photonics on-board optics.

This direct fiber-to-the-server and parallel multi-channel on-board system for switches enables increased bandwidth to the server, aggregation to 400G and beyond, lower power consumption, and a path to the industry target of under $1/Gb.

Cavium is contributing two important elements of this architecture. The first is Cavium's QLogic high performance multi-protocol Ethernet adapters supporting 10Gb/25Gb/40Gb/100Gb speeds that are ideally suited for enterprise and cloud data centers. And the second is Cavium's XPliant Ethernet switch family – a high throughput programmable data center switching solution that is shipping today in production. Platforms based on the XPliant Ethernet switch family leverage its programmatic control of table resources and pipeline logic to meet the specific needs of the network architecture and while providing exceptional packet visibility and telemetry.

The reference design leverages Elenion's next-generation photonics platform and packaging technology, and showcases advanced on-board transceivers with light sources integrated onto the silicon photonics. This innovative integration enables truly scalable, cost disruptive on-board systems for NIC and switch applications within the data center (DC).

As traffic volumes within data center networks continue to scale dramatically, silicon photonics plays a key role in enabling the way data center networks are re-architected, including a move away from pluggable optics to on-board optics. On-board optics offer the benefit of improved performance and network economics.

www.elenion.com
www.cavium.com