Exablaze is now part of Cisco.

Exablaze Announces Highest Density Layer 1 Switch

Author Matthew Grosvenor - Date 2018/10/16

ExaLINK Hydra

The ExaLINK Hydra - highest density layer 1 switch

Sydney, 16 October, 2018: Exablaze, a world leader in end-to-end, low-latency networking, today announced the ExaLINK Hydra, the world’s highest density layer 1 switch. The ExaLINK Hydra is an all new switching platform, offering deterministic, ultra low-latency for applications in finance, telecommunications and high performance computing (HPC). The device is over 3x the density of previous generation layer 1 switches. It offers up to 160 lanes of high speed Ethernet connectivity in a single 1RU of rack space, while maintaining industry leading port-to-port latencies.

Dr Greg Robinson, Exablaze Chairman, said “The ExaLINK Hydra represents a significant step forward in the world of layer 1 networking. This device reflects Exablaze’s core commitment to innovation excellence”. He added, “it is both heartening and exciting to see such strong customer demand for this product so early in its lifetime. We hope and expect the use cases will far exceed our imaginations”.

Introducing QSFP-DD

The ExaLINK Hydra is the world’s first networking device to use double density QSFP connectors (QSFP-DD). The QSFP-DD standard is widely expected to overtake QSFP28 as the connector of choice for hyperscale datacenter networks. QSFP-DD connectors are backwards compatible with legacy QSFP connectors, enabling a smooth transition path from legacy network cabling/connectors to these high density connectors.

World leading density

The ExaLINK Hydra features 20 QSFP-DD connectors, each offering 8 lanes of high speed connectivity per physical port, for a total of 160 lanes of connectivity in a single rack unit. This makes the ExaLINK Hydra over 3x the density of previous generation layer 1 devices, that supported only 48 lanes per rack unit. For users requiring high density QSFP connectivity, the device will also ship in a 36 port QSFP ports variant, offering up to 144 lanes of connectivity in 1 RU.

QSFP-DD cables, optical modules and accessories

Exablaze is committed to providing complete end-to-end, low-latency networking solutions.
In addition to the ExaLINK Hydra, the company will also supply QSFP-DD breakout cables (to QSFP and SFP+ connectors) and QSFP-DD optical transceiver modules (supporting MTP/MPO and LC fibre termination). These accessories will facilitate seamless interoperation with our extensive range of ExaLINK Fusion switches, ExaNIC network adapters, and FPGA based network application cards.

All New Management Platform

The ExaLINK Hydra features an all new management platform based on the reliable and highly successful ExaLINK Fusion product series. The Hydra features a powerful x86 based management CPU, dual management interfaces, USB and RS232 based console access and direct 10Gbps access from the management CPU to the dataplane. Like the ExaLINK Fusion, it offers high quality PPS and GPS based time synchronization options for inline packet timestamping.


The ExaLINK Hydra will soon be made available to selected customers on our early access evaluation program. Contact Exablaze sales to register for the program. General availability is expected in Q1 2019.

About Exablaze

Exablaze designs and manufactures ultra low latency network devices for Financial Trading, Big Data Analytics, High Performance Computing, Data Centres and Telcos. Exablaze is a global leader in Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology. Its products play a crucial role in computing environments where performance is critical.

Media Contact

Dr Greg Robinson    Chairman    [email protected]