Broadcom refreshes connectivity portfolio

Broadcom has updated its range of connectivity products from top-of-rack Ethernet switches down through storage NICs, video offload accelerators, and HBAs to HDD controller SoCs and PreAmps.

The company says its expanded portfolio is intended to help datacenters deliver video storage at scale. It claims it is leading a transition from compute-centric to connectivity-centric datacenters for hyperscale storage systems. However, there are no SmartNICs or DPUs (Data Processing Units) to aid east-west traffic in datacenters such as those from Intel, Fungible, and Pensando.

Charlie Kawwas, Broadcom
Charlie Kawwas

Charlie Kawwas PhD, president, of Broadcom’s Semiconductor Solutions Group, said: “Hyperscale data centers are inundated with data, including massive amounts of user generated video content and are projected to deploy a majority of the industry’s storage … Our leading-edge video processing solutions are setting new benchmarks in video storage delivering the lowest power and latency, while delivering the highest performance in the industry.”

The company is announcing:

  • Top-of-rack Ethernet switches: The 51TB Ethernet Switch Tomahawk 5 family supports 200G, 400G or 800G standard Ethernet connectivity. Tomahawk 5 delivers 51.2 Tbits/s performance, making it the highest bandwidth switching chip on the market at the lowest power consumption. Congestion control is improved with Cognitive Routing, which selects the least heavily loaded links for each flow passing through the switch, and programmable in-band telemetry.
  • 200G Ethernet RDMA NICs use RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) and have hardware-based congestion control to deliver low deterministic latency at scale.
  • Video Offload Accelerator to help offload compute-intensive high density video transcoding functions, with codec formats including H.265, VP9, and AV1 from the server host’s x86 CPU. Claimed to be up to 100x more efficient than video transcoding software run on x86 CPUs.
  • 9600 Storage HBAs (Host Bus Adapters) with Tri-Mode SerDes technology supporting operation of NVMe, SAS, and SATA storage devices in a single drive bay. Doubles performance over prior seventh generation (9500) and has OCP fast fail and multi-actuator support, plus hardware secure boot and attestation.
Broadcom 9600 series HBAs
Broadcom 9600 series HBAs
  • SAS4 Storage Expanders to connect hundreds to thousands of drives to storage HBAs and supporting 24Gbit/s SAS, bandwidth aggregation.
  • Custom HDD Controller SoCs (System on Chip) to connect the drive to the storage HBA or expanders, sharing share a common SerDes with Broadcom’s HBAs, expanders, and IO controllers.   
  • TrueStore HDD PreAmps connecting the HDD SoC to the disk drive’s platters. They enable Energy-assisted Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (ePMR) and Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR), with Broadcom claiming they have the industry’s highest capacity and low power.

Fibre Channel is not mentioned in this Broadcom product refresh; it’s all Ethernet or disk device level interfaces like SATA, SAS, and NVMe.