Broadcom Chips Drive Huawei's Huge Switch
And at the heart of the CloudEngine 12800 series is a Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) chipset, according to multiple Huawei staffers who spoke with Light Reading at the company's booth Tuesday.
The switch family was introduced Tuesday and its largest member is a 12-slot chassis, the CloudEngine 12812, that can support 1,152 10Gbit/s ports or 96 100Gbit/s ports. The chassis is capable of a theoretical 48 Tbit/s, leading Huawei to claim it's got the "largest single-frame switching capacity," as the press release put it. (See Huawei Launches Large Switches.)
As a point of contrast: The Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) BlackDiamond X8, one of the most recent really-big-switches launched, supports 768 10Gbit/s ports and 20 Tbit/s per chassis. (See Extreme Goes Big on Ethernet.)
But those are just numbers, and the title of "largest switch" is likely to change every couple of years. A very big switch is rarely the most practical product in the stable, as Roese admitted in a quick conversation with Light Reading.
But some customers won't take a vendor seriously unless it's chasing the heights of specsmanship. "You've got to have that big switch," says Roese, who knows what it's like to be ignored for not having a big switch.
In that sense, CloudEngine is part of Huawei's push for a share of the U.S. enterprise market, a mission the company launched at the October Interop. Another of Huawei's Tuesday announcements might be even more important: It's signed up its first U.S distributor, Synnex Corp. (See Huawei Adds US Distributor.)
As for the Broadcom switch chips, they're probably the ones designed by Dune Networks, a 2009 Broadcom acquisition. Dune had talked about its switch fabric being able to grow to 100 Tbit/s -- which, if true, would give Huawei and other customers a lot of headroom. (See Broadcom Switch Talks Terabits, Dune Digs In at Broadcom and Dune Scales Switch Chips.)
— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading