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25 April, 2019 - 10:55 By Tony Quested

Solarflare committed to Cambridge after acquisition by California ally

Russell Stern

Cambridge will continue to figure large on the radar of UK-US business Solarflare following the company’s acquisition by California-based programmable logic supplier Xilinx for an undisclosed sum.

A source close to Solarflare told Business Weekly: “Absolutely they will stay in Cambridge. As to 'build' I am not privy to Xilinx's plans but believe they are buying in to the Cambridge Phenomenon!”

Xilinx announced the acquisition of networking solutions vendor Solarflare – based locally at the Westbrook Centre – on the same day it reported that its annual sales had exceeded $3 billion for the first time.

San Jose company Xilinx first became an investor in Solarflare in 2017 when the companies started working together on advanced networking technology. Solarflare, anchored in California, was an early evangelist for the Cambridge technology cluster and put down roots here to take advantage of the engineering talent emanating from the university.

It is a leading provider of high-performance, low latency networking solutions for customers spanning FinTech to cloud computing. 

The acquisition will enable Xilinx to combine its industry-leading FPGA, MPSoC and ACAP solutions with Solarflare's ultra-low latency network interface card (NIC) technology and Onload application acceleration software, to enable new converged SmartNIC solutions, accelerating Xilinx's ‘data centre first"’strategy and transition to a platform company.

Xilinx and Solarflare recently demonstrated their first joint solution – a single-chip FPGA-based 100G SmartNIC, processing 100 million packets per-second receive and transmit, all at less than 75 watts.

Russell Stern, chief executive officer of Solarflare, said: “The Solarflare team has worked very closely with Xilinx on next-generation networking technology and business collaboration since Xilinx became a strategic investor.

“Our shared vision for the future of data centre and cloud computing and the integration of our respective technologies makes this acquisition the ideal next step for our customers, employees, and investors, as well as the broader data centre industry.”

Salil Raje, executive VP and general manager for the data centre group at Xilinx added: “Solarflare has been a pioneer in key areas such as high-speed Ethernet, application acceleration, and NVMe-over-fabrics, which are the critical components needed to build the next generation of SmartNICs for cloud and enterprise technologies.  

“Acquiring Solarflare brings Xilinx both market-leading technology and exceptional engineering talent with expertise in networking hardware, software, firmware and drivers. We are very excited about the possibilities with Solarflare as part of the Xilinx family to enable the adaptable, intelligent world.”

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