Cisco Silicon One Portfolio Grows By Three New Routing, Switching Devices

The Cisco Silicon One portfolio now provides the highest bandwidth routing and switching silicon in a unified product portfolio, Cisco Fellow Rakesh Chopra tells CRN.


Cisco Systems is introducing three new additions to the Cisco Silicon One portfolio, a product family that now provides the highest bandwidth routing and switching silicon in a unified product portfolio, according to Cisco Fellow Rakesh Chopra.

Cisco at the end of 2019 revealed its plan to enter the networking silicon market -- a brand-new area for the company at the time -- with the introduction of Cisco Silicon One, its own programmable ASIC for high-performance networking. Cisco also at the time unveiled its high-performance router platform, the Cisco 8000.

The tech giant ten months later in October announced six new devices, which took the Cisco Silicon One platform from a primarily routing-focused solution, to one that also addresses the web scale switching market. Cisco is now addressing web scale top of rack switches down to leaf and spine switches for data center networks, which marks a “huge” change in the way the industry is used to consuming technology, said Chopra, a Fellow in Cisco’s Common Hardware Group who has been with the company for more than 23 years.

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“Now you can have one architecture and run it everywhere on that network,” he explained.

[Related: Cisco Silicon One: Five Things To Know About Cisco’s Plan To Power The ‘Internet For The Future’]

Two of the latest devices -- introduced on Thursday -- address web scale switching. The Cisco Silicon One G100 offers what Chopra said is the first 25.6 terabits per second (Tbps) programmable and fully shared packet buffered device in a 7 nanometer (nm) chip. By extending the Cisco Silicon One family to 25.6Tbps, the company is offering the highest performance routing silicon that is 1.7 times higher bandwidth and more than 3 times higher packets-per-second than other routing silicon on the market, with the highest switching performance of 25.6Tbps, he said.

The second new web scale switching device is the Cisco Silicon One Q211L, offering 8Tbps and joins Cisco’s existing 12.8Tbps Q200L, 6.4Tbps Q201L, and 3.2Tbps Q202L leaf and top of rack switches. The Q211L will let web scale provider customers simplify their network design and network performance through Cisco’s advanced hierarchical traffic manager and packet buffering, the company said. The Cisco Silicon One Q211L is in full production.

On the routing side, Cisco unveiled the Cisco Silicon One Q211, which joins the existing 6.4Tbps Q201 and 3.2Tbps Q202 routing devices. The 8Tbps device will let customers build optimized fixed systems with a combination of 10GE to 400GE ports, according to Cisco.

The Q211 offers the same benefits as the Q211L for web scale, in a footprint compatible package, Chopra said. The Silicon One message is “landing very well” within Cisco’s customer bases, he added. Initially a play for Cisco’s service provider base, Silicon One is appealing more often to enterprises, thanks to the unified architecture is offers.

“The power of what we have created with the silicon architecture is shocking,” he said. “I believe if you were to compare us again to the very next best piece of silicon regardless of who that is, our belief is that for any metric that matters across top of rack, leaf, or spine, or any one of these roles, we will win hands-down.”

The three new devices, announced on Thursday, brings the portfolio to 10 devices in less than 14 months, Chopra said.

“There’s a huge acceleration factor that we have based on the large investments we’ve made in Silicon One,” he said. ”We really laid the foundation from an architectural perspective that allows us to turn the crank very quickly.”