Cisco has announced that it has started supplying switch chips to major data center operators, including Microsoft and Facebook.
Cisco Silicon 1 is a switch semiconductor already being used by Microsoft and Facebook. Cisco is now offering the chips, which it says are the fastest in the industry, to all of its customers, regardless of whether they buy its networking machinery. Previously Cisco’s chips were only available as components of its machines.
Cisco’s expensive proprietary combinations of hardware and software make up the backbone of much of the internet and corporate networks. The new initiative has the potential to attract business from customers who want to build their own machines instead of buying whole packages. Switch chips perform the crucial function of deciding where packets of data should go in a network of computers. They are designed to handle that task at great speed, and only a few companies have been successful in the market.
Chief Executive Officer Chuck Robbins said:
“From today, and this is something that some of you never thought we’d do, some of our customers will buy our silicon and build their own products if that’s what they choose to do. We really want our customers to consume this technology in any way they want.”