Beyond cybersecurity tasks, CX 10000 can help with network management. The switch can perform network address translation, a method of enabling multiple devices to use the same IP address that is widely used in data center operations. Additionally, the CX 10000 collects telemetry about the network that can help administrators to troubleshoot technical issues.
Powered by a specialized chip
The servers in a data center rely on networking equipment such as switches to exchange information with one another. Historically, the process of moving information between servers also involved another hardware component: appliances that encrypt traffic, track the health of the network and perform other essential operational tasks necessary to keep a data center running smoothly.
Specialized network and cybersecurity appliances can represent a major expense for enterprises. Moreover, they decrease data center performance in certain respects. Routing traffic through a specialized hardware system that performs a task such as data encryption can incur computational overhead, hurting workload speeds. Increased performance is another benefit that Aruba is promising. The HPE unit says the CX 10000 delivers “orders of magnitude scale and performance improvements” over traditional switches.
The CX 10000’s features are powered by a specialized chip from Pensando Systems, a venture-backed startup that counts major tech firms such as Qualcomm Inc. and Ericsson among its investors. The startup’s chip, dubbed Elba, is described as a programmable processor with optimizations that allow it to perform networking tasks more efficiently than traditional hardware.
Shipping in December
Pensando disclosed last year that Elba is made using a seven-nanometer manufacturing process. The chip includes 16 Arm Ltd. central processing unit cores, four times the number of cores in Pensando’s previous-generation chip, and there are several other improvements as well, including a significantly expanded onboard memory pool. The startup said the enhancements allow Elba to process 80 million packets per second.
John Chambers, chairman of Pensando Systems and chief executive of JC2 Ventures, said,
“Markets in transition create new opportunities for disruption. As the Cloud moves to the Edge, distributed services are disrupting everything from AI/ML, to 5G and virtualization. This new category enabled by Pensando software-in-silicon makes the process of deploying distributed services, previously only available to hyperscalers like AWS, in the enterprise both simple and more cost-effective.”
The CX 10000 builds on an existing partnership between HPE and Pensando Systems. Previously, HPE made the startup’s technology available for order as part of its ProLiant and Apollo servers, as well as the Edgeline line of edge computing systems. The CX 10000 is set to start shipping in December.