Micron recently announced its new RLDRAM 3 memory designed specifically for high bandwidth, networking applications. Micron is working with a broad ecosystem of partners including Xilinx, a leading FPGA provider, who is designing RLDRAM 3 memory into their next generation, Virtex 7 line of products.
We had an opportunity to sit down with Rina Raman, Xilinx’s senior director of applications and technical marketing, to talk about their products, collaboration with Micron, and the broader trends affecting the networking market. Here are some highlights from that discussion.
Q: Thanks for taking time to talk with us further, Rina. Could you tell us a little more about Xilinx and the technology you make? What are your target markets?
A: Xilinx is one of the world’s leading providers of programmable platforms, with $1.8B in revenues in fiscal year 2010 and more than 50 percent market share in the programmable logic device (PLD) segment of the semiconductor industry. Xilinx programmable solutions–-FPGAs, software, IP, development kits, and reference designs–-are designed into applications including: automotive navigation systems and rear-seat displays, ultrasound imaging systems, IT gear for wireless computing and mobile applications, and flat panel televisions. In fact--they’re even on board the Mars Rover space mission.
Q: Tell us about your collaboration with Micron. How long have you been working with the company?
A: We have been working with Micron for several generations of FPGA products, starting with RLDRAM 2 and most recently with the latest RLDRAM 3.
Q: Let's take a closer look at the Xilinx 7 series FPGAs you're designing to work with Micron's RLDRAM 3 memory. Where will this product be used and what benefits does it provide the customer?
A: Xilinx 28-nm 7 series FPGAs target a broad range of applications and markets. Our capability to interface to RLDRAM 3 will be mainly used in networking applications.
Q: What unique advantages does RLDRAM 3 memory provide your solution over competing technologies?
A: RLDRAM 3 provides higher density than SRAM and faster random access than DDR3.
Q: How do you see the networking market shaping up over the next 2-3 years? How about 5-10 years out? What factors are driving these trends?
A: Manufacturers of telecommunications equipment need to deploy 100Gigabit Ethernet technology in response to the explosion in Internet bandwidth consumption driven by the popularity of IP video and enhanced media content. At the same time, the mix of new and legacy services requires the use of FPGAs in these systems for applications such as programmable front-ends in line cards.
Q: When do you see broader 40 and 100GbE adoption?
A: The adoption is taking place as we speak and our FPGAs have provided customers the flexibility to quickly bring products to market.
Q: How does Xilinx support customers that integrate RLDRAM memory along with your Virtex products (i.e., whitepapers, field application engineering support, other support models, etc.)?
A: We provide free IP for interfacing FPGAs to RLDRAM devices along with the tools that make it easier for users to customize for their own unique implementation.
Q: If our readers are interested in learning more about Xilinx’s technologies and solutions, where should they go for more information?
A: Our website has a wealth of information: www.xilinx.com