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Vitesse Gets Edgy With Carrier Ethernet

Craig Matsumoto

Chipmaker Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. introduced its latest Ethernet switch-fabric chip Tuesday, claiming it's got the potential to redefine the Carrier Ethernet edge. The Serval-2 chip, more formally called the VSC7438, can be split among multiple functions -- handling some traffic with Carrier Ethernet's level of care while leaving other traffic at an enterprise level, for example. The company calls this the Vitesse Service Aware Architecture (ViSAA). The possible Carrier Ethernet services are defined by the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), so they can be programmed into the chip ahead of time, creating a software head start for a systems designer, says Uday Mudoi, director of product marketing. That includes operations, administration and maintenance (OAM), which Vitesse says it can provide in hardware. That eliminates the processor that would otherwise run OAM in software, theoretically making it cheaper and faster to design a system. Why this matters
Vitesse has targeted the Carrier Ethernet edge for a while, but the ViSAA feature opens up even more possibilities, such as combining enterprise and Carrier Ethernet gear into one box. The general goal is to energize the next wave of products out of systems vendors, especially original design manufacturers (ODMs). Because a large part of the work is provided in hardware, these systems could be developed quickly One early customer got the Serval-2 chips in January and is readying a product launch in May, a pretty fast turnaround, Mudoi says. Elsewhere in the industry, there's the growing question of whether white-box switches could grab more market share as software-defined networking (SDN) takes hold. That's separate from Vitesse's Carrier Ethernet play, but both trends show how chipmakers are ambitiously encouraging faster development of new Ethernet switches. For more

— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading
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