Monday, July 18, 2005

Broadcom to Acquire Siliquent for Ethernet Processing NICs

Broadcom agreed to acquire Siliquent Technologies, a privately-held developer of 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) network interface controllers (NICs) with advanced Ethernet processing technology, for approximately $76 million in cash. Siliquent has developed an Ethernet processor for optimizing server networking, network storage and clustering applications.

Broadcom said the acquisition would significantly accelerate its delivery of 10GbE converged-NICs (C-NICs) for server LAN-on-motherboard (LOM) applications. The Siliquent 10GbE advanced Ethernet processing technology, combined with the use of low-cost 10 gigabit SerDes, enables a more simplified blade server design that can operate on a standard, single Ethernet fabric. The advantages of this 10GbE single fabric approach in the blade server environment are significant when contrasted against the current practice of implementing multiple communications fabrics (i.e. Ethernet for networking, Fibre Channel for block storage, proprietary solutions or Infiniband for clustering), each of which require a communications card on every server and a separate switch, consuming even more backplane space.

Siliquent is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with R&D in Tel Aviv, Israel. The company was founded in 2001 and currently has 59 employees.

  • Siliquent was founded Amit Oren, who previously was Vice President of R&D at Orckit Communications where he was responsible for System Hardware and core ASIC development.
    Prior to Orckit, Oren was an Engineer in the Israel Ministry of Defense.

  • Earlier this year, Broadcom began sampling the first 2.5 Gbps controller as part of its NetXtreme II family of C-NICs (converged network interface controllers). Key features of the C-NIC line include TCP/IP offload engine, iSCSI, and Remote Direct Memory Access capability. The new 2.5 Gbps Ethernet controller, which is optimized for embedded blade server applications, more than doubles the throughput of standard Gigabit networking while improving overall CPU utilization by up to five times. Significantly, it enables up to four separate network fabrics found inside a blade server to be converged over standard Ethernet. The controller is positioned as a cost-point replacement for existing 1 Gigabit Ether implementations. Broadcom said current blade servers rely on up to four highly specialized fabrics to support the four data types that blade servers require to operate efficiently: storage, clustering, management and data networking. To date, the only way to effectively implement blade servers required utilizing specialized network fabrics for each network type. This multi-fabric approach drastically increased overall system cost and compromised the overall value of the blade server implementation. The new NetXtreme II C-NIC enables OEMs to design-in a 2.5 Gbps device to perform all of the networking I/O functions over a single, unified Ethernet fabric. This eliminates the need for specialized networks, fundamentally changing the way that blade servers can be built. The new NetXtreme II BCM5708S represents the second generation of C-NIC silicon solutions from Broadcom. Remote Direct Memory Access, which is an advanced feature for memory-to-memory transfers in high-performance workgroup clusters, could provide up to an order of magnitude improvement over standard Gigabit Ethernet connections, thereby competing with Infiniband and other such implementations.

See also