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Huawei’s New Data Center Switch Uses Embedded AI Chip

January 14, 2019 / Jessica Lyons Hardcastle

Huawei’s latest data center switch uses an embedded artificial intelligence (AI) chip to boost network performance. The vendor announced the new product at its spring 2019 event, and it follows news that Intel and Facebook have an AI chip for data centers under development. It also comes as the embattled Chinese company faces mounting political troubles and additional bans in the U.S. and Europe. The new CloudEngine 16800 has three features that Kevin Hu, president of Huawei Network Product Line, says are vital to “data center switches in the AI era.” In addition to an embedded AI chip, this includes 48-port 400GE line card per slot and the capability to evolve to an intent-based network. Data center network performance affects AI computing power, and it’s becoming a bottleneck for AI commercial processes, the vendor says. With traditional Ethernet, the AI computing power of data centers maxes out at 50 percent because of 1 percent packet loss rate. Meanwhile the annual volume of data worldwide is skyrocketing. IDC’s forecast says it will increase from 33 zettabytes (33 billion terabytes) in 2018 to 175 zettabytes in 2025. And existing 100GE data center networks won’t be able handle the data flood.