Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Cisco presents Silicon One engine of "Internet for the Future"

by James E. Carroll

Cisco unveiled its next generation architecture - its foundation for building a new Internet, by combining silicon, optics, and software. At its "Internet for the Future" event in San Francisco, the company also unveiled new carrier-class routers and discussed an expanded sales strategy that will allow hyperscale web companies and other customers to purchase silicon and optical components directly.

Cisco Silicon One is the new unified, programmable silicon architecture that will be the foundation of Cisco’s routing portfolio going forward, including fixed and modular platforms.  It offers programmability, buffering, power efficiency, scale, and feature flexibility.


The first Cisco Silicon One device - dubbed Q100 - surpasses the 10 Tbps routing performance, although in the near term the company expects to deliver up to 25 Tbps. Q100 actually began sampling 2 years ago and is now shipping. It offers global route scale, deep buffering, and P4 programmability with switching efficiency. It delivers 2x bandwidth and 3x packets-per-second over current routing silicon.

The new Cisco 8000 series carrier-class router is the first platform built with Cisco Silicon One, specifically the Q100. Key features include:

  • Optimized for 400 Gbps and beyond, starting at 10.8 Tbps in just a single rack unit
  • Powered by the new, cloud-enhanced Cisco IOS XR7 networking operating system software,
  • designed to simplify operations and lower operational costs
  • Offers enhanced cybersecurity with integrated trust technology for real-time insights into the trustworthiness of critical infrastructure
  • Service providers gain more bandwidth scale and programmability to deliver Tbps capacity
Saudi Arabia's STC will be the first carrier to deploy the Cisco 8000 series. Comcast and NTT Communications are also testing the platform.

The new Cisco IOS XRT promises:
  • 50% less memory footprint
  • 50% faster boot time
  • 40% smaller image sizes
  • 40% faster download
  • Root-of-trust in the hardware and a cloud-based method for verifying trust in the NOS
Silicon + Optics

Over the past few years, Cisco has been investing in silicon photonics, including its acquisitions of CoreOptics, LightWire and Luxtera.  Its acquisition of Acacia is pending -- all of which reflect the company's desire to improve the availability, capacity, density and power-efficiency, especially at 400G and above.  The strategy has 3 major themes:

  • Optical  innovations will drive architectural transitions, including coherent pluggables and co-packaging.
  • Different optical consumption model, including fully integrated systems, pluggables, and components
  • Cisco Optics on non-Cisco hosts.

In terms of the new sales model, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said the key idea is to provide greater flexibility in how customers consume the technology. Cisco cited Google and Facebook as partners who are interested in disaggregated solutions.

Microsoft is testing the use of its SoNIC technology in conjunction with the Cisco 8000 platform.

“Innovation requires focused investment, the right team and a culture that values imagination," said Chuck Robbins, chairman and CEO of Cisco. "We are dedicated to transforming the industry to build a new internet for the 5G era. Our latest solutions in silicon, optics and software represent the continued innovation we're driving that helps our customers stay ahead of the curve and create new, groundbreaking experiences for their customers and end users for decades to come.”



About 5 years ago, Cisco set out to design a new silicon architecture, one which could serve multiple markets and scale over time.

Eyal Dagan, SVP Silicon, Cisco, shares his views on the design philosophy of Cisco Silicon One. It was a clean sheet approach. A key question -- is it possible to create a routing chip with the efficiency of switching silicon?

https://youtu.be/P5QwOKaxRtI



See also