Cisco to acquire Memoir

Cisco has announced its intent to acquire privately held Memoir Systems, a company that develops semiconductor memory intellectual property (IP) and tools that enable ASIC vendors to build programmable network switches with increasing speeds.

This acquisition will enable the proliferation of affordable, fast memory for existing Cisco switch ASICs and will help advance Cisco’s ASIC innovations necessary to meet next-generation IT requirements.

Currently, the industry is focusing on datacenter switching market, denser infrastructure and data-intensive workloads are driving demand for higher port density (feeds) and greater bit rates. At the same time, the accelerating growth of scale-out (non-virtualized) Big Data applications like Hadoop are driving increasing East-West data traffic – furthering the need for greater datacenter network density.

Unfortunately, the physical memory in typical ASIC switch chips cannot cope with the design requirements for these more intense needs and as a result, can become the bottleneck that limits the density and performance of future datacenter switches.

To help solve the ASIC memory issue, Memoir currently licenses soft-logic IP, which speeds up memory access by up to 10 times. It also reduces the overall footprint this memory takes up in typical switch ASICs. As a result, this technology allows the development of switch and router ASICs with speeds, feeds, and costs typically not possible with traditional physical memory design techniques. This differentiation is critically important as port densities and port speeds move from 10G to 40/100G.

The acquisition of Memoir Systems is expected to close in the first quarter of Cisco’s fiscal year 2015. The Memoir team will report into Cisco’s Insieme Business Unit, under senior vice president, Mario Mazzola.

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