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Marvell Adds Innovium Cloud Switches

August 24, 2021

Author: Bob Wheeler

Marvell is serious about data-center networking. Hot on the heels of closing its Inphi acquisition, the company announced an agreement to buy switch-chip startup Innovium. The deal will give Marvell a leading position in data-center switching, a market it largely missed a decade ago owing to execution problems. Innovium’s 12.8Tbps Ethernet switch is already shipping to a hyperscale cloud-service provider as well as to OEM Cisco. Although the competitive landscape is evolving, Broadcom remains the dominant vendor Marvell will face in this segment.

Innovium shareholders will receive $1.1 billion in Marvell stock, and the net cost to the acquirer should be about $955 million after accounting for acquired cash. The startup’s cofounder and CTO, Puneet Agarwal, will join Marvell, whereas CEO Rajiv Khemani will move to an advisory role. Innovium will add a second switch-development team, with Marvell’s existing staff continuing to develop Prestera chips for enterprise and carrier systems.

Founded in 2015, Innovium sampled Teralynx 7, its first-generation 400G Ethernet switch chip, in early 2018—about one quarter behind Broadcom’s comparable Tomahawk 3. Cisco was the first announced customer, using Teralynx 7 in the Nexus 3400-S family. Next, the startup broadened its offering by introducing Teralynx 5 for lower bandwidths while enhancing the underlying architecture. Always aggressive, Innovium preannounced its 25.6Tbps Teralynx 8 in 2Q20, adopting 112Gbps serdes.

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