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A Marvell-ous Hack Indeed – Winning the Hearts of SONiC Users

By Kishore Atreya, Director of Product Management, Marvell

Recently the Linux Foundation hosted its annual ONE Summit for open networking, edge projects and solutions. For the first time, this year’s event included a “mini-summit” for SONiC, an open source networking operating system targeted for data center applications that’s been widely adopted by cloud customers. A variety of industry members gave presentations, including Marvell’s very own Vijay Vyas Mohan, who presented on the topic of Extensible Platform Serdes Libraries. In addition, the SONiC mini-summit included a hackathon to motivate users and developers to innovate new ways to solve customer problems. 

So, what could we hack?

At Marvell, we believe that SONiC has utility not only for the data center, but to enable solutions that span from edge to cloud. Because it’s a data center NOS, SONiC is not optimized for edge use cases. It requires an expensive bill of materials to run, including a powerful CPU, a minimum of 8 to 16GB DDR, and an SSD. In the data center environment, these HW resources contribute less to the BOM cost than do the optics and switch ASIC. However, for edge use cases with 1G to 10G interfaces, the cost of the processor complex, primarily driven by the NOS, can be a much more significant contributor to overall system cost. For edge disaggregation with SONiC to be viable, the hardware cost needs to be comparable to that of a typical OEM-based solution. Today, that’s not possible.

Challenge accepted! Marvell’s team of “Marvellous Hackers,” including Ravindranath CK, Antony Rheneus, Jithender Reddy, Maulik Patel, and Satheesh Kumar Karra, set out to solve SONiC’s footprint problem.

Over the course of the two-day hackathon, the team was able to reduce image size by 20 percent and memory utilization by 5 percent.

cost-effective SONiC solution

The judges were impressed – the “Marvellous Hackers” won the “Most User Wanted” category out of a field of 23 teams and over 80 participants. This recognition confirms that the greater market wants a smaller footprint, more cost-effective SONiC solution. To learn more about our winning idea, watch this overview video.

Stay tuned for the next blog to learn how the team achieved this impressive result!

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The Right Stuff: A Past and Future History of Automotive Connectivity

By Amir Bar-Niv, VP of Marketing, Automotive Business Unit, Marvell

and Mark Davis, Senior Director, Solutions Marketing, Marvell

In the blog, Back to the Future – Automotive network run at speed of 10Gbps, we discussed the benefits and advantages of zonal architecture and why OEMs are adopting it for their next-generation vehicles. One of the biggest advantages of zonal architecture is its ability to reduce the complexity, cost and weight of the cable harness. In another blog, Ethernet Camera Bridge for Software-Defined Vehicles, we discussed the software-defined vehicle, and how using Ethernet from end-to-end helps to make that vehicle a reality.

While in the near future most devices in the car will be connected through zonal switches, cameras are the exception. They will continue to connect to processors over point-to-point protocol (P2PP) links using proprietary networking protocols such as low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS), Maxim’s GMSL or TI’s FPD-Link.

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TSN and Prestera DX1500: A Bridge Across the IT/OT Divide

By Reza Eltejaein, Director, Product Marketing, Marvell

Manufacturers, power utilities and other industrial companies stand to gain the most in digital transformation. Manufacturing and construction industries account for 37 percent of total energy used globally*, for instance, more than any other sector. By fine-tuning operations with AI, some manufacturers can reduce carbon emission by up to 20 percent and save millions of dollars in the process.

Industry, however, remains relatively un-digitized and gaps often exist between operational technology – the robots, furnaces and other equipment on factory floors—and the servers and storage systems that make up a company’s IT footprint. Without that linkage, organizations can’t take advantage of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies, also referred to as Industry 4.0. Of the 232.6 million pieces of fixed industrial equipment installed in 2020, only 10 percent were IIoT-enabled.

Why the gap? IT often hasn’t been good enough. Plants operate on exacting specifications. Engineers and plant managers need a “live” picture of operations with continual updates on temperature, pressure, power consumption and other variables from hundreds, if not thousands, of devices. Dropped, corrupted or mis-transmitted data can lead to unanticipated downtime—a $50 billion year problem—as well as injuries, blackouts, and even explosions.

To date, getting around these problems has required industrial applications to build around proprietary standards and/or complex component sets. These systems work—and work well—but they are largely cut off from the digital transformation unfolding outside the factory walls.

The new Prestera® DX1500 switch family is aimed squarely at bridging this divide, with Marvell extending its modern borderless enterprise offering into industrial applications. Based on the IEEE 802.1AS-2020 standard for Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN), Prestera DX1500 combines the performance requirements of industry with the economies of scale and pace of innovation of standards-based Ethernet technology. Additionally, we integrated the CPU and the switch—and in some models the PHY—into a single chip to dramatically reduce power, board space and design complexity.

Done right, TSN will lower the CapEx and OpEx for industrial technology, open the door to integrating Industry 4.0 practices and simplify the process of bringing new equipment to market.

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The Race Against Automotive Hackers Is Accelerating

By Hari Parmar, Senior Principal Automotive System Architect, Marvell

“In your garage or driveway sits a machine with more lines of code than a modern passenger jet. Today’s cars and trucks, with an internet link, can report the weather, pay for gas, find a parking spot, route around traffic jams and tune in to radio stations from around the world. Soon they’ll speak to one another, alert you to sales as you pass your favorite stores, and one day they’ll even drive themselves.

While consumers may love the features, hackers may love them even more.”

The New York Times, March 18, 2021

Hacking used to be an arcane worry, the concern of a few technical specialists. But with recent cyberattacks on pipelines, hospitals and retail systems, digital attacks have suddenly been thrust into public consciousness, leading many to wonder: are cars at risk, too?

Not if Marvell can help it. As a leading supplier of automotive silicon, the company has been intensely focused on identifying and securing potential vulnerabilities before they can remotely compromise a vehicle, its driver or passengers.

Unfortunately, hacking cars isn’t just theoretical – in 2015, researchers on a laptop commandeered a Jeep Cherokee 10 miles away, shutting off power, blasting the radio, turning on the AC and making the windshield wipers go berserk. And today, seven years later, millions more cars – including most new vehicles – are connected to the cloud.

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Marvell is a Member of the Semiconductor Climate Consortium

By Rebecca O'Neill, Global Head of ESG at Marvell

I am delighted to announce that Marvell is a Member of the new Semiconductor Climate Consortium. We have been active participants of the group over the past several months and are happy to share that the Climate Consortium is publicly launching today.

Why a Consortium? 

Acknowledging that climate action is collective action, Marvell has joined the Semiconductor Climate Consortium to work collaboratively with other semiconductor companies that have also embarked on a carbon reduction journey, to accelerate climate solutions and drive progressive climate action within our industry value chain. 

The Consortium is an initiative of SEMI, the industry association serving the global electronics design and manufacturing supply chain, and it brings together all parts of the semiconductor ecosystem, including manufacturers, equipment providers, and fabless solutions providers such as Marvell. Everyone has a role to play in advancing the industry’s progress on addressing climate change. The Consortium believes that by working together, member companies will bring collective knowledge and innovative technologies to do so much more than one company can do alone. 

The Consortium recognizes the challenge of climate change and works to speed semiconductor industry value chain efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including through support of the Paris Agreement and related accords driving the 1.5°C pathway.  

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