All posts by James Bailey

pcb board ready for silicon chips

Facebook fancies making some chips

Not content with taking a large chunk of the white box hardware market, it would seem Facebook is now moving into chip design. Whilst the social network has decided not to comment at this time about the project, there is a job posting asking for candidates that can:

“Build and manage an end-to-end SoC/ASIC, firmware and driver development Facebook job application for chip engineeringorganization, including all aspects of front-end and back-end standard cell ASIC development“.

This candidate will need to be a leader, implying a large team of people working on the project. Other large tech companies like Google and Apple already manufacture their own silicon chips. Apple use their own chips within many of their major product lines and Google’s efforts have gone into artificial intelligence. Judging by the job posting, it would seem that Facebook also have their sights on AI.

Clearly this would reduce the reliance they have on their current suppliers such as Intel and Qualcomm. Facebook’s MO so far has been to open source their hardware, initiating as they did the Open Compute Project. So it will be interesting to see what comes of their own semiconductors.

Remind me what a SoC and ASIC is…

A system on chip, or SoC, is a type of semiconductor that aggregates several discrete components in one piece of silicon. Typically you see these chips housed in mobile phones and other IOT-style mobile devices.

An Application-Specific Integrated Circuit, or ASIC, is an integrated circuit that is customised for a particular use. ASICs often encompass the CPU memory etc and are referred to as SoC.

Edgecore fast train metaphor

Edgecore contributes 400GbE open network switch to OCP

Ethernet takes another jump in speed. Yes, Edgecore have announced 400 gigabit Ethernet or 400GbE. The big reveal happened at this year’s Open Compute Summit in San Jose and will be the industry’s first 400G open design. Edgecore have contributed the specification and design package to the OCP foundation.

“Four years ago, Edgecore contributed the industry’s first OCP accepted network product, a 10G top-of-rack switch,” said George Tchaparian, CEO, Edgecore Networks. “Since then, we have contributed over 15 network product designs as open networking technology and deployments grew to include 25G/100G data center fabrics, deep-buffer data center interconnect switches, service provider access infrastructures, open modular chassis, and campus/branch/wireless networks. Now, Edgecore is introducing the industry’s first 400G open network switch, enabling network operators to respond to growing demands for network capacity, and increasing the bandwidth of open network switches by a factor of 40 over the past four years.”

What would you name such a switch? Well Edgecore Networks, a wholly owned subsidiary of Accton Technology Corp, have gone with the AS9716-32X. It provides 32 x QSFP-DD ports, each capable of 400 Gigabit Ethernet and all in a 1u format. The switch, based on the Broadcom StrataXGS Tomahawk III, leverages the Intel Xeon Processor D control plane processor.

Edgecore switch similar to that the AS9716-32X might look like.

“Hyperscale cloud service providers led the way for the adoption of OCP-certified equipment with telco and tier-2 CSPs now moving to scale deployments with top drivers such as customization, power efficiency, and cost reduction,” said Cliff Grossner, PhD, senior research director and advisor of cloud and datacentre research practice for IHS Markit, a global business information provider. “Production shipments of 400G DC Ethernet switch ports will commence in 2019, and we forecast revenue to reach approximately $1.6 billion by 2022, signalling a strong need for 400G Ethernet switching. Edgecore’s contribution of their 400G switch design to OCP is one indication of the OCP community moving to address that need.”

OCP open networking ecosystem

The numerous developments to have come out of the Open Compute Project geared towards networking have created all the ecosystem you need to run your network. As with all Edgecore open network switches, the AS9716-32X supports OCP standards. This includes ONIE, Open Network Linux, the Open Optical Monitoring (OOM) API, and the Redfish hardware management API.

“We are pleased to see Edgecore release the 400G open networking switch and to share its design with the Open Compute Project community for mass market adoption,” said Prashant Gandhi, Chief Product Officer, Big Switch Networks. “This clearly demonstrates the rapid pace of innovation in whitebox switch hardware, delivering best-in-class performance at competitive price points. We look forward to certifying this switch for Open Network Linux and to on-board it for our SDN fabrics products to support emerging 100G/400G use cases in cloud/SAAS networks, deep learning, and high performance computing.”

If you are interested in boosting your network throughput with the Edgecore AS9716-32X contact us today.


DatacenterDynamics Zettastructure showcasing OCP

Aegis Data, a provider of highly resilient and optimised data centre environments and colocation services, will be linking forces with data centre hardware firm Hyperscale IT to demonstrate the huge potential of the Open Compute Project (OCP) at the DatacenterDynamics Zettastructure Summit on 1st – 2nd November 2016. Aegis Data will be showcasing the technology on stand 140. Continue reading

Datacentre aisle

Aegis Data partners with Open Compute Project provider Hyperscale IT

Aegis Data has entered into an agreement with data centre hardware firm Hyperscale IT, which is providing it with access to Open Compute hardware services. The partnership will allow Aegis Data’s customers to significantly benefit from greater flexibility and lower total cost of ownership when it comes to fulfilling their compute needs. Continue reading

EDSAC teleprinter handover

Hyperscale IT donate 56-year-old EDSAC II computing equipment

EDSAC I replica as it stands todayHyperscale IT, who supply integrated server hardware, also pride ourselves on finding hard-to-source legacy parts. Now, when we say legacy parts, we’re largely referring to server hardware that has gone EOL and needs a memory upgrade, or has blown a power supply etc. But we recently reunited a 56-year-old teleprinter and tape reader with other EDSAC II parts at the National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park, UK.

Continue reading