New QCT QuantaMesh 100GbE Networking from Computex 2017

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QCT QuantaMesh T7128 IX5
QCT QuantaMesh T7128 IX5

We had a chance to check out the QCT networking products at Computex 2017. QCT is a supplier of networking solutions to some of the world’s largest hyper-scalers and SaaS providers. These companies are changing networks out at a breakneck pace driven largely by the proliferation of SSDs and the need to unleash IOPS in their servers. Typical replacement cycles have gone down and the push to 25/ 50/ 100GbE is in full swing. Networking in this segment is seeing replacement cycles half of what most organizations utilize for their forecasts. In turn, that is driving innovation in the networking space.

QCT Networking at Computex 2017

We wanted to cover a few products we saw in the QCT networking booth. QCT is one of the largest hardware vendors worldwide and is on the leading edge of software defined networking trends.

QCT QuantaMesh T7128-IX5 – 128-port 100GbE Chassis Switch

Perhaps the first switch that you noticed in the booth was a compact 128x 100GbE chassis switch. As you can see, the QCT QuantaMesh T7128-IX5 has four blades each with 32x 100GbE ports.

QCT QuantaMesh T7128 IX5
QCT QuantaMesh T7128 IX5

The architecture was extremely interesting. QCT is actually using essentially 12 different switches between the blades and as interconnects here. There is a total of 12x Broadcom Tomahawk switch chips and 12x Xeon D-1527 controllers. As the company explained, the design leverages a standard format to ease integration with software-defined networking stack. By keeping the chips and management CPUs consistent, one can easily manage the chassis as if it was a cluster.

QCT QuantaMesh T7064-IX4 – 64-port 100GbE Spine Switch

Keeping the theme of 100GbE going, the QCT team was also showing off a 100GbE spine/ leaf switch with 64 ports. The QCT QuantaMesh T7064-IX4 is a 2U design allowing for the higher port counts.

QCT QuantaMesh T7064 IX4
QCT QuantaMesh T7064 IX4

Onboard, the T7064-IX4 is leveraging a Broadcom Tomahawk2 switch chipset along with an Intel Xeon D-1527.

QCT QuantaMesh T5032-IX1B – 32-port 100GbE Switch

In the 1U and 32-port category, we saw the QCT QuantaMesh T5032-IX1B. That switch has 32x 100GbE QSFP28 ports onboard.

QCT QuantaMesh T5032 IX1B
QCT QuantaMesh T5032 IX1B

This seems to be a replacement for all of the 40GbE 32-port switches that are commonplace today. It is powered by an Intel Rangely CPU as well as the Broadcom Tomahawk.

QCT QuantaMesh T4048-IX3 – 25/ 100GbE ToR Switch

The QCT QuantaMesh T4048-IX3 is a 25GbE top of rack switch. For uplinks, it has six 100GbE connections.

QCT QuantaMesh T4048 IX3
QCT QuantaMesh T4048 IX3

Powering the T4048-IX3 is a Broadcom Tomahawk+ chip. We do see a move towards SFP28 and QSFP28 cabling and 25GbE / 50GbE / 100GbE adapters in servers happening. That transition is ongoing and is largely being lead by the hyper-scalers who have their own software stacks. Like the other switches we showed, these have a Xeon D-1527 chip and a full BMC for SDN applications.

Just by looking at the switch, you get the feeling that it is the upgrade to the QCT QuantaMesh T3048-LY8 which is the main 10Gb SFP+ / 40GbE QSFP+ switch we use in our lab. There is a T3048-LY7 we saw which has 48x 10GbE ports and 4x 100GbE QSFP28 uplinks powered by Broadcom Maverick and an Intel Rangeley CPU.

QCT QuantaMesh T3048 LY7
QCT QuantaMesh T3048 LY7

Final Thoughts

At STH, we run our main Ethernet networks on 40GbE still. In terms of 100Gb networking, we have added 48x Intel Omni-Path ports in Q2 2017. Next on the list are Infiniband as well as 25/50/100GbE.

We did get a chance to view some of QCT’s server products as well. Those products we are not allowed to discuss due to Intel embargos that STH is honoring.

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