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Cloud enablement

Broadcom's Thinking Gets Cloudy

Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) sees the newly acquired Dune Networks switch fabric as its chance to serve the oh-so-popular cloud computing market.

With the acquisition having closed on Monday, officials were happy to talk about Dune during Broadcom's analyst conference, held Tuesday. Specifically, CEO Scott McGregor steered the conversation to cloud computing when asked whether the Dune buy should be taken as a sign of reignited interest in the service provider market. (See Broadcom: Dune a Done Deal.)

"You should take it that way, indeed. And we also believe cloud computing is going to be important," McGregor said. "It requires a scale that is beyond what a typical data center would be."

McGregor painted the picture of long rows of equipment racks "terraformed" with server blades, requiring switches massive enough to move all that data.

In particular, Broadcom is anticipating a need for multichassis data-center switches, CTO Nick Ilyadis told Light Reading during a lunch break. These would be boxes akin to the Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) CRS-1 and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) T1600, where multiple chassis can be linked together to behave as one really big switch. Dune has been saying that it's heard requests to link as many as 20 chassis together. (See Dune's Prospects.)

A surviving startup from the network processor craze circa 1999, Dune sells switch fabrics, a crucial component for any switch or router. Broadcom already owned a switch fabric through the acquisition of Sandburst, but the company bought Dune for $178 million, saying its chipset was better suited for enormous switches. (See Broadcom Builds on Sandburst and Dune Digs In at Broadcom .)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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