Freescale and Broadcom each take aim at SDN, NFV

Freescale and Broadcom both have software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) on their minds and in their chip portfolios.

During the Freescale Technology Forum, held outside of Dallas, Freescale unveiled the QorIQ LS2 family of systems on a chip (SOCs) based on the company's Layserscape architecture. The vendor said the new chips are designed to accommodate SDN, software-based approaches to network infrastructure, the Internet of Things (IoT) and the early definition of 5G technologies.

Freescale's announcement came a week after Broadcom announced at the Interop show in Las Vegas that it is expanding its XLP II multi-core communications processors family with the XLP500 Series, which is designed to deliver necessary processing performance and agility for SDN and NFV deployment.

Commenting on Broadcom's products, Vinay Saxena, chief architect, NFV, at Hewlett-Packard, said: "We believe our collaboration with Broadcom on its Open NFV platform, and communications processors such as the XLP500 Series, are ideally suited to deliver the right balance of power, performance and workload flexibility needed to meet the requirements of NFV solutions."

Freescale said its QorIQ LS2 family is specifically designed for SDN/OpenFlow switching, NFV solutions, wireless access, enterprise routing and data center processing applications. Its QorIQ LS2085A and LS2045A feature eight and four 64-bit ARM Cortex-A57 cores, respectively, running up to 2GHz. Freescale added it will release a complete ARMv8-A-based portfolio of multicore processors later in 2014.

"We recognized the paradigm shift toward the era of SDN/NFV two years ago, when we first announced our next-generation of QorIQ platforms built on Layerscape architecture," said Tom Deitrich, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale's Digital Networking group.

Broadcom said its chips are already sampling. Production is expected this fall.

Jag Bolaria, a senior analyst with The Linley Group, told EE Times that the Freescale chips will likely sample later this year and enter production in 2015.

"If you want to design something now, the XLP or LSI's Axxia may be your best bets," he said. "But, and if you can wait until next year for production, the Freescale chip has some better capabilities, especially for software-defined networking and network functions virtualization."

For more:
- see this Freescale release
- see this Broadcom release
- see this EE Times article
- see this eWeek article

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