Last week at IDF, we took the wraps off of two exciting new products that OEMs and ODMs can use to develop switch systems for the emerging market for software-defined networks (SDN) in the data center.


At the chip level, we launched the new Intel® Ethernet Switch FM6700 series, which is a 10G/40G SDN-optimized switch family that provides up to 64 10GbE or up to 16 40GbE ports. 


The FM6700 series can support both SDN and legacy networks.  Thus it can be used in top-of-rack switch SDN applications in the data center, or in network appliances or video distribution switches (thanks to its built in load balancing features).


For all applications, the switch features a pioneering low-latency architecture, built on the programmable Intel® FlexPipe™ frame-processing pipeline and single output queued shared memory architecture.  Both of these technologies combine to deliver highly deterministic packet forwarding with a maximum layer 3 latency of about 400nS.


The switch supports NAT and IP tunneling features for use in both IP and SDN applications.  For the SDN networks, the FlexPipe frame processor can be used to parse and process SDN packets.  The switch also supports 4,000 complete OpenFlow 12-tuple table entries that can be searched in a single pass for added performance.  There are also flexible tagging and tunneling options, including the ability to provide both an SDN and tunneling proxy for connected hosts.


At the platform level, we’ve introduced Seacliff Trail, a top-of-rack switch network reference platform for OEMs and ODMs that is based on the FM6764.  It offers 48 SFP+ 10GBE ports and four QSFP+ 40GBE ports, and can drive up to 7m of direct attach copper without the need for additional PHY chips on the board. 


It’s an all-Intel platform as well with a control plane based on the Crystal Forest AMC module that features an Intel® Xeon® processor, Intel communications chipset and Intel® 82599 10GBE controller. Intel’s Wind River subsidiary provides the open and extensible software framework based on its Linux OS.  This provides both easy SDN integration and also direct API access to add third-party apps for rapid innovation.


Seacliff Trail is a major step forward in fulfilling Intel’s SDN vision of the next-generation of networking.  That vision combines standardized, high-volume hardware with an open and extensible software framework that allows OEMS/ODMs to add their own value-added functionality.


Last week we had good crowds coming to see these products at our IDF booth along with two sessions where we presented both the FM6700 series SDN features along with its features for server load balancing..