The charmingly named NLX1281103A combines three types of products:
- A knowledge-based processor, based on a ternary content-addressable memory (TCAM). TCAMs are useful in routers, and they were NetLogic's first business.
- A Layer 7 processor, usable for functions like deep packet inspection. NetLogic got into this business in 2006 with the NETL7 chip. (See NetLogic Makes Its Move.)
- A multicore microprocessor from the acquisition of RMI in November. This chip is the first new device related to that pickup; it uses eight processor cores. (See NetLogic Joins Processor Race and RMI's Long Strange Trip.)
You could accomplish the same thing with a network processor and NetLogic's regular knowledge-based processor, but the combination might not keep up with 40-Gbit/s streams, says Chris O'Reilly, NetLogic's vice president of product development.
The mashing-together of functions is part of the normal cycle for chips. For NetLogic, though, there's an added purpose: trying to expand beyond the niche first created by TCAMs.
"One of the things this does is allow us to address a more significant part of a customer's linecard," O'Reilly says. "And maybe we can go after security platforms that were traditionally a sea of processors."
The new chip will start sampling any day now.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading