Cavium Introduces ThunderX(tm): A 2.5 GHz, 48 Core Family of Workload Optimized Processors for Next Generation Data Center and Cloud Applications

World's Highest Performing Power Optimized 64-bit ARM(r)-based Server SOC

SAN JOSE, Calif., and Computex TAIPEI, Taiwan, June 3, 2014 – Cavium, Inc., (NASDAQ: CAVM), a leading provider of semiconductor products that enable intelligent processing for enterprise, data center, cloud, wired and wireless networking, today announced the introduction of a new game changing category of processors that are workload optimized for a range of applications in the cloud and data center. The 2.5GHz 48 core ThunderX is the world’s highest performing low-power 64-bit ARMv8 SoC family of workload optimized processors with a range of SKUs and form factors for high performance volume compute, storage, secure compute and networking specific workloads.

Market Dynamics for Cloud and Next Generation Data Centers

Data center infrastructure transformation is one of the key trends driving IT spending in 2014 and beyond. Analysts predict that the global data center infrastructure market, including servers, storage, networking, security and virtualization, will reach $128 billion in 2014. Key trends driving this disruption include rapid adoption of Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) enabled by Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) with virtualized on demand compute, Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Software Defined Storage (SDS). The continued growth and adoption of Open Source Software with almost 100 billion lines of code and nearly 10 million active developers is also radically changing installed base software requirements.

The current data center market has been serviced with processors that are designed with “one size fits all” approach and are based on a legacy control plane architecture where many of the networking, storage, virtualization and security functions are implemented in software or additional chips leading to huge system and rack level inefficiencies specific to performance, latency, footprint, power and cost. The realities of today’s new data center environment drive the need for an innovative SOC micro architecture that enables optimized solution development.

New Category of Workload Optimized Processors: Foundation for the Next Generation Data Center

Workload optimized processors delivering high performance and highly optimized solutions for a range of applications in the cloud and data center infrastructure. The key features include highly optimized full custom processor cores, highly efficient caching subsystem, high memory bandwidth and capacity and end to end system virtualization. They also include high bandwidth customized I/O configurations along with application specific hardware accelerators delivering overall low end to end latency.

Cavium has a long history of delivering high-performance multi-core workload-optimized processors for networking, security and data plane processing applications through their highly successful OCTEON® and OCTEON Fusion® and NITROX® and Neuron Search® processor families.

Introducing the ThunderX CN88XX Family of Processors

ThunderX consists of 24 to 48 cores and is the fifth generation of multi-core processor design from Cavium targeting high performance volume servers and appliances for large data centers and cloud infrastructure. This family of processors offers workload optimized SKU’s targeted for compute, storage, networking and secure compute segments.

This product family is based on highly efficient full custom processor cores designed by Cavium in 28nm process technology under architectural license from ARM. It is fully compliant with ARMv8 architecture as well as ARM’s Server Base System Architecture (SBSA) standard while bringing to market dramatic enhancements that include:

The first ARM based SoC that scales up to 48 cores with up to 2.5 GHz core frequency with 78K of I-Cache and 32K of D-Cache along with 16MB of L2 cache.

The first ARM based SOC to be fully cache coherent across dual sockets using Cavium Coherent Processor Interconnect (CCPI™)

Integrated I/O capacity with 100s of Gigabits of I/O bandwidth

Four DDR3/4 72 bit memory controllers capable of supporting 2400 MHz memories with 1TB of memory in a dual socket configuration

Hundreds of integrated hardware accelerators for security, storage, networking and virtualization applications.

Standard based low latency Ethernet fabric interconnecting thousands of ThunderX™ nodes in 2D and 3D configurations and enabling fabric monitoring and SLA enforcements with awareness and policy enforcement for virtualized networks.

Virtualization everywhere with Cavium virtSOC™ technology – Full system virtualization for low latency from virtual machine to I/O.

“The unprecedented demand for power and cost efficient workload optimized computing driven from the data center and cloud is a disruptive opportunity for the industry. Our strategic investment in technologies and solutions that matter to the data center over the past 10+ years come together perfectly in ThunderX. We believe Cavium is well positioned to be a leading vendor for the most demanding cloud workloads of the future,” said Syed Ali, President and CEO of Cavium Inc.

“The ARM ecosystem is radically expanding the realms of possibility for cloud and data center infrastructure,” said Simon Segars, chief executive officer, ARM. “ThunderX is an innovative implementation of the ARMv8-A architecture. Together with ARM’s Server Based System Architecture standard, it will accelerate the deployment of workload-optimized ARM-based systems and transform the pace of innovation in the data center.”

ThunderX Workload Optimized Family of Processors

With ThunderX, Cavium will be delivering the most comprehensive family of integrated ARMv8 SOC products in the industry and for the first time data center and cloud operators will be able to truly optimize their deployments and workloads from the silicon all the way to the application.

ThunderX_CP™: Up to 48 highly efficient cores along with integrated virtSOC, dual socket coherency, multiple 10/40 GbE and high memory bandwidth. This family is optimized for private and public cloud web servers, content delivery, web caching, search and social media workloads.

ThunderX_ST™: Up to 48 highly efficient cores along with integrated virtSOC, multiple SATAv3 controllers, 10/40 GbE & PCIe Gen3 ports, high memory bandwidth, dual socket coherency, and scalable fabric for east-west as well as north-south traffic connectivity. This family includes hardware accelerators for data protection/ integrity/security, user to user efficient data movement (RoCE) and compressed storage. This family is optimized for Hadoop, block & object storage, distributed file storage and hot/warm/cold storage type workloads.

Thunder_SC™: Up to 48 highly efficient cores along with integrated virtSOC, 10/40 GbE connectivity, multiple PCIe Gen3 ports, high memory bandwidth, dual socket coherency, and scalable fabric for east-west as well as north-south traffic connectivity. The hardware accelerators include Cavium’s industry leading, 4th generation NITROX and TurboDPI technology with acceleration for IPSec, SSL, Anti-virus, Anti-malware, firewall and DPI. This family is optimized for Secure Web front-end, security appliances and Cloud RAN type workloads.

Thunder_NT™: Up to 48 highly efficient cores along with integrated virtSOC, 10/40/100 GbE connectivity, multiple PCIe Gen3 ports, high memory bandwidth, dual socket coherency, and scalable fabric with feature rich capabilities for bandwidth provisioning , QoS, traffic Shaping and tunnel termination. The hardware accelerators include high packet throughput processing, network virtualization and data monitoring. This family is optimized for media servers, scale-out embedded applications and NFV type workloads.

“Cavium has leveraged its multiple generations of world class IP to engineer a highly integrated family of SOCs that we believe will set a new bar for performance, features, power and cost targeting next generation data center deployments. The ThunderX™ family of highly integrated SOCs is a finely tuned and balanced architecture designed from the ground up to deliver optimum application level performance,” said Gopal Hegde, Vice President and General Manager of Cavium’s Data Center Processor Group.

“With 48 cores, ThunderX far exceeds the per-socket performance of any ARM server processor yet announced. This achievement draws on Cavium’s long experience with large multi-core processors,” said Linley Gwennap, Principal Analyst at The Linley Group. “ThunderX will enable Cavium to be the first ARM-based vendor to deliver the performance and features required by today’s volume server market at half the power and significantly lower cost compared to competing solutions. This announcement shows that the ARM camp is making progress in the server market, with Cavium leading the way.”

ThunderX CN87xx Family

The CN87xx consists of 8 to16 cores in single socket configuration with two DDR3/4 controllers, multiple 10GbE, SATAv3 and PCIe Gen3 interfaces. This family is cost and power optimized for entry level applications such as cold storage, distributed content delivery, dedicated hosting, distributed memory caching and embedded and control plane.

ThunderX Comprehensive Software Ecosystem

Cavium is fully committed to industry standards, support for Open Source development and has a strategic and expanding core of blue chip software partners. ThunderX is enabled for efficient rack level deployment and application optimization from day one with fully developed firmware, Linux Kernel and Operating Systems, development tools, cloud infrastructure and scale out applications. Cavium’s engagement in the software ecosystem includes membership in the UEFI Forum, open source and industry groups such as OpenStack Foundation, the Linux Foundation, the Xen Advisory Board and Linaro. Cavium plays an active role in upstream Linux Kernel development that ensures standard support for all ThunderX product families and product features and demonstrated support for Linux OS distributions. These include Ubuntu, Fedora®, openSUSE and MontaVista, efficient and scalable virtualization support via KVM and Xen and full support for development environments including the GCC suite and Java. Many of these are available today for the ThunderX family.

In addition, Cavium is working directly with strategic commercial partners across the entire software ecosystem including application providers for Hadoop, Data Analytics, Web and Scale Out Storage.


The ThunderX family of processors along with a range of hardware reference platforms will be available for general sampling in early Q4’2014. Fedora and the Infinity design logo are trademarks of Red Hat, Inc

About Cavium

Cavium is a leading provider of highly integrated semiconductor products that enable intelligent processing for networking, communications and the digital home. Cavium offers a broad portfolio of integrated, software-compatible processors ranging in performance from 10 Mbps to 100 Gbps that enable secure, intelligent functionality in enterprise, data-center, broadband/consumer and access and service provider equipment. Cavium processors are supported by ecosystem partners that provide operating systems, tool support, reference designs and other services. Cavium’s principal office is in San Jose, CA with design team locations in California, Massachusetts, India and China. For more information, please visit: