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Marvell’s Secure Deterministic Ethernet Solution: Enabling and Spurring Secure OT/IT Environments
by Ron Westfall | November 14, 2022

The News: Marvell Technology, a provider of data infrastructure semiconductor solutions announced the extension of its campus networking portfolio into the operational technology (OT) networks common to industrial and critical infrastructure organizations. Marvell’s Secure Deterministic Ethernet solution, comprised of Prestera switches and Alaska PHYs, is designed for switch appliances used in often-harsh environments. Read the Marvell Press Release here.

Marvell’s Secure Deterministic Ethernet Solution: Enabling and Spurring Secure OT/IT Environments

Analyst Take: Marvell’s new Secure Deterministic Ethernet solution includes a family of ruggedized Prestera switches, offering a time-sensitive networking (TSN) feature set, and Alaska Ethernet PHYs. The TSN standard enables deterministic real-time communications over Ethernet by offering bounded latency, low delay variation, and ultra-low packet loss. The Prestera DX1500 switch family scales from eight ports to 54 ports and is designed to be paired with the Alaska E1781 series of 10/100/1000Base-T, octal port transceivers. In the case of the 8-port switch, the PHY is integrated.

By enabling the more widespread use of Ethernet in the OT environment, the new solution can facilitate the adoption of modern IT tools and security methods in OT networks, enabling a common management and automation approach from the cloud to the OT network edge, especially for harsh settings and deterministic communications. I see Marvell’s new offerings playing an integral role in helping organizations bridge the network silos between their OT and IT domains and reducing the increased cost and risk such silos can bring.

From my view Marvell is addressing the top-priority cybersecurity challenges that manufacturing and critical infrastructure industries such as electric utilities, railways, and energy production are at increasing risk. For example, the May 2021 ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline organization represented the largest cyberattack on oil infrastructure in U.S. history.

Such risks are heightened due to the location of some networking equipment, which places it at relatively greater vulnerability to physical security breach. To better safeguard OT/IT domains and interworking, including especially critical infrastructure, Marvell’s Prestera industrial-grade switches with TSN offer device and link-level security through Secure Boot and MACsec support.

Plus, OT networks require precision timing and predictable latency to a greater extent than corporate IT networks. Marvell’s TSN support across the new solutions meets such demanding deterministic networking requirements enabling the sharing of virtually any Ethernet traffic networks expediting the convergence of OT and IT silos. As such, I expect broader adoption of TSN capabilities to decrease OT network costs and accelerate the implementation of the analytics, automation, and intelligence that are already powering IT network transformation.

Key Takeaways: Marvell Targets Speeding up Safeguarded OT/IT Convergence with Secure Deterministic Ethernet Solution Launch

Overall, I anticipate that Marvell’s new Secure Deterministic Ethernet solution provides the TSN, SoC integration efficiencies, built-in security, intelligence for protected automation, portfolio-driven place-in-network optimization, and software support key to expediting OT/IT convergence, especially throughout the manufacturing and critical infrastructure market segments. This is good news for Marvell’s OEM partners in their mission to streamline and catalyze their customers’ journey to open, deterministic Ethernet-based networks.

Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of Futurum Research as a whole.

Other insights from Futurum Research:

Marvell Primed to Boost Hardware Security-as-a-Service Adoption with LiquidSecurity 2 Debut – Futurum Tech Webcast Interview Series

Marvell Readies Hardware Security-as-a-Service for Prime Time with LiquidSecurity 2 Launch

Marvell Sustains Impressive Market Momentum with Robust Q2 Fiscal 2023 Financial Results

Image Credit: Marvell

About the Author

Ron is an experienced research expert and analyst, with over 20 years of experience in the digital and IT transformation markets. He is a recognized authority at tracking the evolution of and identifying the key disruptive trends within the service enablement ecosystem, including software and services, infrastructure, 5G/IoT, AI/analytics, security, cloud computing, revenue management, and regulatory issues. Read Full Bio.