More Details About Google's Gigabit Switches

[qi:027] Andrew Schmitt did some great reporting and broke the story about Google building its own 10-GigBE switches, designed specifically to meet its needs. Andrew had reported that Google was building the switches using Broadcom’s silicon.

Following up on Andrew’s report, we have learnt that these are early days for this particular core switch project, which will have either 24 or 48 ports. It is early days for this switch and Google is (GOOG) playing around with various prototypes. There are some latency concerns with Broadcom (BRCM), and as a result, there is an opening for other silicon vendors, with Fulcrum Micro being viewed as a worthy competitor.

This is a core switch project, but not the only one.

Google has another switch project that uses silicon from Fulcrum Micro. These switches are designed and made by Quanta, the same Taiwanese company that makes iPods and OLPC devices. This switch will have 20 or 24 1 Gigabit Ethernet or 16-24 ports of 10GigBE, and uplinks to 4x10GbE links which are either copper or optical. This particular device aggregates Google’s wall ‘o servers.

This particular switch features a stripped-down routing software that is based on the code provided by Level7, a company that was acquired by Broadcom. The device has been optimized for Google’s needs, we are told.

A quick scan of Google’s job listings site confirms that the company has been actively recruiting for these products. In addition to seeking experts in gigabit and 10 gigabit switching technologies, Google is also looking for engineers familiar with optoelectronics components that can be used with what Google describes as “next-generation networking technologies.”

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