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Comms chips

Velio Preps Storage Fabric

Chip maker Velio Communications Inc. is developing a switch fabric for the storage market, probably to be announced later this year, Light Reading has learned.

It wouldn't be the company's first storage product. Last fall, Velio released serializer-deserializer (SerDes) chips targeting Fibre Channel (see Velio Offers Storage SerDes). And officials say their Gigacore2 technology, capable of running 6.25-Gbit/s signals is attracting interest for some 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel applications (see Velio Accelerates to 6.25-Gig).

A switch fabric is a natural extension, considering the company already makes Sonet fabrics. "It is certainly true that we will be attacking the storage market with a switch fabric product as well," says Ryan Carlson, product marketing manager.

Velio is "in detailed talks" with customers to finalize the specifications, putting any kind of product announcement six to nine months away, Carlson says.

Alas, no engineering hires are pegged to the new product. Velio will draw from its existing team, particularly the dozen or so designers working in New Jersey.

Carlson says the motivation behind the storage fabric is straightforward: With telecom down, you gotta do something [ed. note: and, Lord knows, in New Jersey you gotta do something!].

"In order to get growth in the short term, we should start expanding," Carlson says. "We certainly see the growth potential [in storage] sooner than telecom, but we're not getting out of telecom."

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

kampar 12/5/2012 | 12:07:09 AM
re: Velio Preps Storage Fabric >As is well known, any switching fabric is
>designed optimally by taking into account the
>applications. It is nit clear what has Celio
>optimized in its switching fabric.

>There is not much known about the Operating
>System that the Switch Fabric uses? What
>features does it have?

You know, I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but BobbyMax could be right!! What Operating System are these guys going to use in their switch fabric and how does it stack up? I did some research:

It appears that Newbridge/Alcatel, in their outrageous 7670 platform used a variant of MSDOS 3.2, which is probably why they had so much trouble getting MPLS to run at more than 5pps over it. However, Equipe proved to be a lot smarter when they put Windows 3.1 into their fabric. Lucent's sad demise in the switch fabric game came through their decision to use CPM because they had so many old-timers who 'knew the code'. Even those companies using relatively new and sophisticated O/S platforms (including LINUX!!) are likely to fall flat on their faces due to the processing constraints imposed by a real-time O/S on a 6.25 Gbps throughput ASIC - I would think that these decisions would mean that VCs think twice before investing in new fabric ASIC startups.

Hang-on a minute, Booby is talking about Celio, not Velio. I checked out www.celio.com and it appears to be a website devoted to semi-naked pictures of french men posing in their undies (no, really, check it out). Not a lot of switch fabrics there ... in fact, not a lot of fabric at all. Hmmm. Maybe Booby hit the wrong line on his "Favorites" menu.

Oh well, back to the one fabric company that got it right ... Agere doesn't use any O/S on it's switch fabrics at all and therefore seems to be doing a pretty good job at moving data ... maybe this is the way its going to be done by all companies in the future.

kampar

(Okay, so I have nothing better to do on a Sunday morning, although I did just spend an hour working on a customer presentation - honest)
BobbyMax 12/5/2012 | 12:07:09 AM
re: Velio Preps Storage Fabric As is well known, any switching fabric is designed optimally by taking into account the applications. It is nit clear what has Celio optimized in its switching fabric. How many ports does the switching fabric have? What will be the port bandwidth? Is the switch supposed to interoperate with othwer Fiber Channel Switches? Will it be fully non-blocking? How much buffering will be provided? Nothing is known about performance monitoring, redundaancy, configurability. What are the managementfeatures ( provisioning, configurability etc.)

There is not much known about the Operating System that the Switch Fabric uses? What features does it have?
gea 12/5/2012 | 12:07:07 AM
re: Velio Preps Storage Fabric BobbyMax:

All your base are belong to us.
edgecore 12/5/2012 | 12:06:53 AM
re: Velio Preps Storage Fabric
...I am confused...

Why are we talking about running an OS on a fabric chip? A fabric chip running an OS would be a lsow/expensive proposition!

Normally chip vendors have eval boards that are provided with suport for specific operating systems.

Where I am from, I did not think fabrics ran software...I thought they only needed software initializition at boot time!

Today, an operating system usually requires a 32 or 64 bit processor to run on.

And...I thought the 7670 uses nothing but VxWorks.

Curious,

EC
kampar 12/5/2012 | 12:06:52 AM
re: Velio Preps Storage Fabric
It was a vain attempt at the art of sarcastic and ironic humor aimed at BoobyMax's misaligned and dysfunctional view of the world.

Perhaps I made it just a little too subtle.

Apologies.

Kampar
Sisyphus 12/5/2012 | 12:06:44 AM
re: Velio Preps Storage Fabric > There is not much known ...

Indeed, there's not enough known to ask one single intelligent question at times.

I am sure Velio is currently defining/optimizing the feature set and spec for a specialized switch, since it is still a relatively long way from being a real product. It seems to be an original and unexploited niche that might pay off - one has to give Velio credit for finding a new angle to an old theme (well, "old" in our industry being about 6 months old :). And why does it have to be FC? There are new emerging interconnect protocols that might become relevant to next generation designs in that market. My bet's they're looking at Infiniband or something like that. Idle speculation, of course.
go_to_the_light 12/5/2012 | 12:03:59 AM
re: Velio Preps Storage Fabric It appears that Newbridge/Alcatel, in their outrageous 7670 platform used a variant of MSDOS 3.2, which is probably why they had so much trouble getting MPLS to run at more than 5pps over it. However, Equipe proved to be a lot smarter when they put Windows 3.1 into their fabric.

woah! that explains it - not even win '98?!
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