Monday, February 7, 2022

IFS makes a splash: $1B fund, Arm & RISC-V support, Open Chiplet Platform

by James E. Carroll

The newly established Intel Foundry Services (IFS) announced several initiatives to accelerate its entrance into the semiconductor fabrication market: a $1 billion investment fund, support for Arm and RISC-V in addition to x86, and pioneering work with chiplet architecture based on 3D packaging technology.

The new $1 billion investment fund has three aims:

  • Equity investments in disruptive startups.
  • Strategic investments to accelerate partner scale-up.
  • Ecosystem investments to develop disruptive capabilities supporting IFS customers.

IFS confirmed that it will support multiple instruction set architectures (ISAs), spanning x86, Arm and RISC-V, making it the only foundry to offer IP optimized for all three of the industry’s leading ISAs.

The company sees strong demand from foundry customers for RISC-V and, to this end, Intel is planning investments and offerings for RISC-V. Partners in the RISC-V ecosystem include Andes Technology, Esperanto Technologies, SiFive and Ventana Micro Systems. IFS plans to offer a range of validated RISC-V IP cores, performance-optimized for different market segments. IFS will optimize IP for Intel process technologies to ensure that RISC-V runs best on IFS silicon across all types of cores, from embedded to high-performance. Three types of RISC-V offerings will be made available:

  • Partner products manufactured on IFS technologies.
  • RISC-V cores licensed as differentiated IP.
  • Chiplet building blocks based on RISC-V, leveraging advanced packaging and high-speed chip-to-chip interfaces.

IFS also plans to sponsor an open-source RISC-V software development platform and s joining RISC-V International, a global nonprofit organization supporting the free and open RISC-V instruction set architecture and extensions.

IFS is making a major push into system-on-package architectures with an Open Chiplet Platform designed to leverage advanced 3D packaging technologies. The idea is to partition complex semiconductors into modular blocks or “chiplets.” Each block is customized for a particular function, providing designers incredible flexibility to mix and match the best IP and process technologies for the product application. Intel believes the data center market will be one of the first to adopt modular architectures. Closely integrating accelerator chiplets in the same package as a data center CPU enables significantly higher performance and reduced power compared to placing accelerator cards near CPU boards. The Open Chiplet Platform is being developed with leading cloud service providers.  Intel is also partnering to develop an open standard for a die-to-die interconnect that allows chiplets to communicate with each other at high speeds. 

In addition,  Intel Foundry Services (IFS) today launched an Accelerator ecosystem to to spur collaboration with electronic design automation (EDA), intellectual property (IP) and design services. The IFS Accelerator provides a comprehensive suite of tools for customers:

The most powerful and validated EDA solutions optimized for Intel’s leadership technology and manufacturing, covering the full spectrum from concept to high-volume silicon production.

A comprehensive, silicon-verified, and Intel process-specific IP portfolio, including standard cell libraries, embedded memories, general purpose I/Os, analog IP and interface IP.

Design services partners that allow customers to focus on creating unique product ideas, assigning implementation tasks to rigorously trained designers well-versed on Intel technology.

The IFS Accelerator includes 17 founding partner companie as well as a broad library of IP offerings from a range of partners.

EDA Alliance: Ansys, Cadence, Siemens EDA, Synopsys 

IP Alliance: Alphawave, Analog Bits, Andes, Arm, Cadence, eMemory, M31, SiFive, Silicon Creations, Synopsys, Vidatronic 

Design Services Alliance: Capgemini, Tech Mahindra, Wipro

“Intel is an innovation powerhouse, but we know that not all good ideas originate from within our four walls,” said Randhir Thakur, president of Intel Foundry Services. “Innovation thrives in open and collaborative environments. This $1 billion fund in partnership with Intel Capital – a recognized leader in venture capital investing – will marshal the full resources of Intel to drive innovation in the foundry ecosystem.”

“Foundry customers are rapidly embracing a modular design approach to differentiate their products and accelerate time to market. Intel Foundry Services is well-positioned to lead this major industry inflection. With our new investment fund and open chiplet platform, we can help drive the ecosystem to develop disruptive technologies across the full spectrum of chip architectures,” said Pat Gelsinger, Intel CEO.

Saf Yeboah, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Intel, said: “Intel Capital’s history and expertise are rooted in chips. Over the last 30 years, we have invested over $5 billion into 120 companies supporting the semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem, from the materials coming out of the ground to the software tools used to implement a design. Our investments, which range from pathfinding bets into early-stage companies to deeply strategic and collaborative investments, drive innovation across architecture, IP, materials, equipment and design.”

Intel expands its manufacturing plans

Intel will invest more than $20 billion in the construction of two new fabs in Ohio. The initial phase of the project is expected to create 3,000 Intel jobs and 7,000 construction jobs over the course of the build. Air Products, Applied Materials, LAM Research and Ultra Clean Technology will establish a physical presence in the region. Initial production is targetted for 2025.

Today’s investment marks another significant way Intel is leading the effort to restore U.S. semiconductor manufacturing leadership,” said Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel. “Intel’s actions will help build a more resilient supply chain and ensure reliable access to advanced semiconductors for years to come. Intel is bringing leading capability and capacity back to the United States to strengthen the global semiconductor industry.

In a press conference, Gelsinger said the new facilities will produced advanced chip designs at 2nm and below.

“The impact of this mega-site investment will be profound,” said Keyvan Esfarjani, Intel senior vice president of Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Operations. “A semiconductor factory is not like other factories. Building this semiconductor mega-site is akin to building a small city, which brings forth a vibrant community of supporting services and suppliers. Ohio is an ideal location for Intel’s U.S. expansion because of its access to top talent, robust existing infrastructure, and long history as a manufacturing powerhouse. The scope and pace of Intel’s expansion in Ohio, however, will depend heavily on funding from the CHIPS Act.”

Intel breaks ground on $20 billion fabs in AZ

Intel broke ground on two new fabs (52 and 62) at the company’s Ocotillo campus in Chandler, Arizona. When fully operational in 2024, the new fabs will manufacture Intel’s most advanced process technologies, including Intel 20A featuring the new RibbonFET and PowerVia innovations. The capacity is expected to be used for Intel's own products as well as for customers of the newly formed Intel Foundry Services.“Today’s celebration marks an important...

Esperanto looks to IFS to fab its RISC-V-based AI accelerator chips

Esperanto Technologies, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, confirmed that it will use Intel Foundry Services silicon and chiplet packaging technologies to advance its RISC-V-based technology and deliver its massively parallel AI acceleration silicon solutions spanning from cloud to edge.

Esperanto Technologies is developing massively-parallel 64-bit RISC-V-based Tensor compute cores currently delivered in the form of a single chip with 1088 ET-Minion compute cores and a high-performance memory system. Designed to meet the high-performance and low-power requirements of large-scale datacenter customers, Esperanto’s existing RISC-V-based inference chip is a general purpose, parallel processing solution that can accelerate many parallelizable workloads. It is designed to run any machine learning (ML) workload well, and to excel at ML recommendation models, one of the most important types of AI workloads in many large datacenters.

“Intel Foundry Services is excited to add Esperanto’s massively-parallel AI accelerators to the IFS ecosystem,” said Bob Brennan, Vice unity are invaluable in helping to advance and proliferate RISC-V solutions from Esperanto and others, ultimately benefiting all end users,” said Art Swift, president and CEO at Esperanto Technologies.

KT and Savills plan subsea cable linking 6 APAC countries

KT and Savills Korea announced plans for a new 9,000 km submarine cable system linking 6 countries in APAC: South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Philippines, and Singapore.

Savills Korea and KT held an MOU signing ceremony at KT’s Songpa office building located at Songpa-gu, Seoul.  KT will conduct consulting based on its years of experience in design, construction, and operation of submarine cables. KT will also participate as a strategic investor. Savills Korea will be in charge of Asset Management, services such as business planning and implementation, attracting investors, contracting, and licensing. The partners are seeking support from global cloud operators and telecommunications operators.

KT also participates in the Asia-Pacific Gateway (APG) and New Cross Pacific Cable System (NCP) projects. 

Savills Korea is the South Korean branch of Savills, a global real estate service provider established in 1855, and provides consulting services in commercial real estate businesses, including data centers. Savills Korea was involved in data center transactions with a total of 140WM in the Seoul metropolitan area, including two data centers established and operated by a joint venture between Equinix and GIC, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund.

Crystal Soojeong Lee, CEO of Savills Korea commented “The partnership with KT is a fruit of our consistent effort to broaden the extents of services we provide. Unprecedented synergy effect is expected through Savills’ abundant network and KT’s professional technology.”

Soo-jung Shin, the head of KT Enterprise added “Demand derived from services such as DX-based cloud services and OTT falls upon not only South Korea, but the entire Asian region and submarine cable industry is anticipated to expand even further. We look forward to reinforcing our hegemony in the market in cooperation with Savills Korea.”

Equinix and Singapore's GIC to build 2 hyperscale data centers in Seoul

Equinix and GIC, SINGAPORE'S sovereign wealth fund, agreed to form a US$525 million joint venture to develop and operate two xScale data centers in Seoul, Korea. GIC will own an 80% equity interest in the joint venture, and Equinix will own the remaining 20% equity interest. The two facilities under this joint venture, to be named SL2x and SL3x, are expected to provide more than 45 megawatts (MW) of power capacity to serve the unique core workload...

Digital Realty opens carrier-neutral data center in Seoul

Digital Realty inaugurated its first data center in South Korea. Digital Seoul 1 (ICN10) will serve as a gateway to global expansion for enterprises in Korea to scale their digital business into new markets globally, and vice versa.ICN10 is a multi-story, 12-megawatt facility spanning 22,000 square feet and is strategically located in the northwest region of Seoul within the Sangam Digital Media City, a newly developed urban planning zone populated...

Norway-UK cable achieves 800G line rate with Ciena

The NO-UK submarine cable system between Norway and the United Kingdom achieved a record-breaking 800 Gbps line rate using Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme powered by its WaveLogic 5 Extreme coherent optical technology.

NO-UK’s open submarine cable system, featuring eight fiber pairs, runs for 700km between Stavanger (Norway) and Newcastle (UK) and is the shortest low-latency direct submarine route between the two nations. The system was developed by Altibox Carrier, which owns and operates fiber-optic cables, and supplied by Xtera, a turnkey provider of subsea systems. The project is managed by specialist consultants SubSea Networks Ltd.

Altibox selected Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme, leveraging Ciena’s WaveLogic 5 Extreme technology and 6500 Packet-Optical Platforms, supporting up to 35Tb/s per fiber pair—the highest capacity achieved to date across a repeatered submarine network. The design and cable validation exercise was conducted according to the new International Telecoms Union (ITU) submarine cable standard for open cables, known as ITU-T G.977.1.

Svein Arild Ims, Director at Altibox Carrier, said: “NO-UK has been developed to support the evolving requirements of businesses in Norway. We wanted it to deliver the highest bandwidth and capacity available across a submarine network in a sustainable way, and Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme, combined with Xtera’s unique wide-bandwidth and low-noise repeater design, has achieved exactly that. The network has exceeded our expectations in every way and sets the standard for future connectivity between Norway and the UK.”

Ian Clarke, Vice President of Global Submarine Solutions at Ciena, added: “Ciena continues to push the limits of submarine cable networks, achieving 800Gb/s line rate—another industry first. With more capacity and lower cost-per-bit, lower power consumption and lower ongoing operational costs, the solution provides a modern and environmentally friendly network for Altibox’s NO-UK customers.”

Ceragon releases Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway (DCSG)

Ceragon Networks announced generally availability of its IP-50FX Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway (DCSG) solution, which integrates a cell site router and a radio indoor unit.  

The IP-50FX integrates Ceragon's DCSG hardware platform with an advanced network operating system (NOS) software by IP Infusion and Ceragon's own Radio-Aware Open Networking (RAON) software. With RAON the cell site gateway acts as a virtual IDU, with a single IP address offering centralized management capabilities for all connected outdoor radios for easier configuration and monitoring of the entire cluster.

The IP-50FX is now listed on Telecom Infra Project's TIP Exchange. 

Diego Marí Moretón, Meta Connectivity Technologies & Ecosystems Manager and Lead of the TIP Open Optical Packet Transport project group commented: "TIP has assessed and fostered a DCSG ecosystem, working with a shortlist of selected software and hardware vendors. Ceragon's IP-50FX solution met all rigorous requirements defined by the DCSG subgroup, and I am excited to report it has been awarded TIP's Requirements Compliant Ribbon for SW and HW.  I look forward to continuing our collaboration with Ceragon on open networking innovation projects."

Doron Arazi, Ceragon Networks CEO commented: "I am really excited that Ceragon is entering into a new domain of Disaggregated Cell Site Gateways, which holds growth potential for the company. The release of this unique DCSG solution is sure to impact the market by providing a better solution for cell sites at a much lower cost. It eliminates vendor lock-in to support true open networking and brings together the best of two worlds in 5G mobile networking – Routing and Wireless Transport. The business impact for mobile operators and private networks is significant, as it gives them the flexibility to respond quickly to rising capacity demands and makes it significantly easier for them to upgrade and add new services."

VMware announces 4 executive appointments

VMware welcome 4 executives to its leadership team:

Laura Heisman has joined the company as chief marketing officer. She brings to the role more than 25 years experience in reaching enterprise, developer, consumer and corporate audiences through her prior leadership roles at GitHub, where she elevated awareness and built developer fans of the largest and most advanced development platform in the world, and Citrix.

Sylvain Cazard will lead the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region as general manager. He has spent more than 12 years at VMware, he is adept at executing go-to-market strategy across multi-product and multi-cloud platforms to enable enterprise digital transformation. Prior to this, Cazard was vice president for the Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. Sylvain takes over the reins of VMware’s APJ business from Duncan Hewett, who is retiring from his role at the company.

John Sabino will lead the company’s Customer Experience and Success organization, including the Customer Success, Professional Services, Learning, and Global Support team, as Chief Customer Experience Officer, recently joining from Splunk. 

Zia Yusuf serves as senior vice president of Strategic Ecosystem and Industry Solutions. In this role, Yusuf is responsible for building joint horizontal and industry-centric solutions with our ecosystem and alliances across Dell, global cloud providers, telco service providers, global system integrators, and global ISVs. Yusuf joins the company from Boston Consulting Group, where he was a Senior Partner & Managing Director.

Keysight and LG Electronics collaborate on 6G

Keysight Technologies collaborated with LG Electronics to demonstrate a 6G radio frequency (RF) front-end (RFFE) module at the recent 2021 Korea Science and Technology Exhibition in December.

The demonstration leveraged Keysight’s 6G Sub-Terahertz (THz) R&D Testbed and LG’s 6G radio front-end transceiver to generate terabit data wireless transmissions. Keysight’s 6G testbed supports a scalable number of frequency bands and ultra-wide bandwidths. This enables leading wireless companies to conduct 6G sub-THz channel sounding research and evaluate candidate 6G waveforms.

Keysight’s 6G testbed delivers low residual error vector magnitude (EVM) across ultra-wide modulation bandwidths resulting in accurate EVM performance assessments of sub-THz systems, transceivers and components. This enables researchers to create designs that deliver the high performance required to support future 6G use cases.

Keysight’s 6G sub-THz R&D Testbed enables LG Electronics to develop high-frequency, high bandwidth RFFEs and transceivers. It integrates Keysight’s high-speed multi-channel arbitrary waveform generator, UXR multi-channel high-performance oscilloscope, PathWave vector signal analysis software and PSG analog signal generator with compact upconverters and downconverters from Virginia Diodes Inc. (VDI).

“Keysight’s expertise in test, emulation and optimization, coupled with their ability to create essential linkages between supportive 6G technologies, helps LG Electronics to bring innovations to life – from idea to design, development, manufacturing, deployment and operation,” said Yeongho Je, vice president and head of Communication & Media Standard Lab at LG Electronics. “These innovations support the industry’s 6G vision, which includes creating a more sustainably connected world.”

In early 2021, the two parties initiated a collaboration focused on next generation 6G network technology by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at securing leadership in the standardization and commercialization phase of 6G mobile communication.

Intelsat to provide inflight connectivity to LATAM

 LATAM Airlines Group will install Intelsat’s connectivity service in its fleet of Airbus narrow body aircraft including A320ceo and A320neo variants, based in Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia. The installations will include up to 160 total aircraft and will take three years to complete. 

Approximately 70 new-delivery aircraft are expected to be installed with Intelsat’s 2Ku system by Airbus, prior to delivery to LATAM, at its manufacturing sites in the U.S. and Europe. When completed the entire fleet of LATAM narrow body aircraft will be served by Intelsat’s IFC service.

“We have worked closely with Intelsat to deliver the best connectivity experience on our aircraft based in Brazil, but we know our customers in Spanish-speaking markets want the same onboard experience. Today’s announcement is the first step on that journey, as we aim to deliver the best connectivity service experience in the region using Intelsat’s 2Ku system,” said LATAM’s Vice President of Clients, Paulo Miranda.

“At Intelsat, our mission is to provide quality, reliable connectivity for work and entertainment which is essential for airline partners and passengers alike,” commented Dave Bijur, senior vice president of Commercial for Intelsat Commercial Aviation. “LATAM is an important customer to us and we look forward to providing their passengers across South America with the exceptional customer service not just today and tomorrow but for decades to come.”

Aryaka adds to its exec team

Aryaka announced three executive appointments:

  • Dennis Monner, currently Aryaka’s Managing Director and former CEO of Secucloud, has been promoted to the newly created role of Chief Commercial Officer.
  • Renuka Nadkarni will served in the newly created role of Chief Product Officer. Renuka comes from F5 where she was the CTO and product leader for F5’s security portfolio.
  • DeAndra Jean-Louis has been appointed Chief Customer Officer. She comes from Palo Alto Networks where she was Vice President of Customer Success. 

All three executives will report directly to CEO Matt Carter.

“The next step in Aryaka’s journey is to build upon our founding principles of innovation,” said Matt Carter. “To achieve our next milestone, we will need to be laser focused on building the most technically advanced products and services that exceed customer demands. Today’s announcement will allow us to execute faster, collaborate more readily cross-functionally, prioritize resources, align around a common set of metrics and above all, move forward united as one team with a higher-purpose mission and vision for the company.”