Broadcom’s Trident 3 – A big deal well beyond the data center

Today Broadcom announced Trident 3.  The companies third major release of a chip that drove the merchant silicon revolution in the data center and started the white box movie in the Cloud.  With Trident 3, all of Broadcom’s data center switching ASICs now support speeds of at least 3.2 Tbps per chip.

Trident 3 is impressive, but a few things about it really caught my eye.  First, Trident 3 will offer five different skus, two of which are really focused on campus switching.  One could see a 48-port 2.5 Gbps switch out of the X3 version of Trident 3 next year.  We believe the Trident family moving into the campus will be significant for the industry once products begin to ship.

Second, native 25 Gbps ports.  Trident is the most popular of Broadcom’s ASICs, especially in the enterprise, and with Trident 3, we expect the market to quickly move away from 10 Gbps/40 Gbps products and towards 25 Gbps/100 Gbps products.  This product aligns well with our forecasts for this transition which we are excited to be publishing shortly.  We still don’t see a bandwidth need in most enterprises for 25 Gbps, but the ability to future proof at the customer level and the ability to consolidate skus at a vendor level will make this compelling.

Third, we see a potential for both switch vendors and customers to benefit from one family of ASICs from the campus all the way to the data center.  While it is too early to know the impact of this right after the announcement, we look forward to conducting interviews over the next few months to define this impact.