The network industry is decoupling software from hardware, enabling new opportunities in the Ethernet switching market.
Data centers keep demanding more performance because the titans of cloud--Apple Google Facebook and Amazon--are constantly starved for faster connections and old design methods are not keeping pace. Disaggregation is about to hit the Ethernet chip market.
Looking at the numbers, the market has experienced a substantial increase in merchant silicon and demand for higher speed ports. 100 Gbps revenue surpassed 10 Gbps revenue for the first time in 2Q18 within the data center, furthermore, 25 Gbps serdes lanes are now more common in that space than any other previous technology. This signals the clear future trend.
A prominent way forward for chip design is increasingly defined by the transition away from network switch ASICs--dependent mainly on TSMC’s process node technology--to multi-chip or “chiplet” architectures. This evolution will shake up big silicon vendors such as Broadcom and Cisco who have done business in much the same way for years.
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