This excerpt taken from the MRVL 10-K filed Apr 14, 2005.
Business Enterprise Market
We provide solutions tailored to specific needs of the enterprise networking, business enterprise computer, business storage and carrier access, small office/home office and residential networking segments of the business enterprise market.
Enterprise Networking. LANs are comprised of different types of equipment interconnected by copper, fiber and/or coaxial cables over a computer networking protocol called Ethernet. As the volume of data transmitted over these networks continues to increase, communication bottlenecks are appearing and new technologies such as Gigabit Ethernet are being employed to replace the older 10 Megabit and 100 Megabit per second technologies. Many desktop connections have recently migrated to Gigabit Ethernet technology, and we believe that the 1,000 Megabit per second Gigabit Ethernet standard has become the predominant technology for servers and backbone infrastructures that support LANs. We further believe that as desktop connections continue to migrate to the Gigabit Ethernet standard, server and backbone connections will eventually migrate to the new 10,000 Megabit per second standard, known as 10 Gigabit Ethernet.
Additionally, as businesses seek faster access to increasing amounts of information through LANs, Metropolitan Area Networks, or MANs, and WANs, such as the Internet, these networks are constrained in their ability to process and transmit information quickly. As a result, business enterprise equipment and systems are undergoing a transformation to allow for increased data transmission speed and the sophistication to intelligently route and process voice, video and data. Previously processed by disparate systems one for voice, one for video, one for data these systems are being converged to create a single, more efficient system. Additionally, vendors of business enterprise equipment are increasingly faced with time-to-market pressures and resource constraints, which have augmented the vendors' transition from internally developed solutions to third-party semiconductor devices. In addition to the vendors' transition to third party semiconductor devices, many vendors are also looking for third party support for their software needs.
Enterprise switching equipment is also decreasing in physical size while increasing the number of switched connections, or ports. The smaller, high port count equipment helps lower the overall system cost on a per port basis while requiring less space. Such systems demand highly integrated, low power consumption physical transceiver and switched Ethernet controller integrated circuits. We offer a variety of transceivers, Ethernet switches and system controllers for the specific requirements of the enterprise networking market. We also offer embedded networking software for such equipment.
Business Enterprise Computer. Business enterprises purchase desktop, laptop and server computers to improve their productivity. We believe there is a transition underway in the way these computers connect to communications networks. Wired connections to the communications networks are transitioning to Gigabit Ethernet connections and mobile computers are quickly adopting WLAN connectivity. We provide Gigabit Ethernet and WLAN connectivity integrated circuits tailored specifically for all three business PC market segments enterprise, mobile and desktop.
Purchases of desktop computers are becoming increasingly price sensitive. As a result, disk drive manufacturers focused on this segment require integrated circuit components that facilitate design for high volume, low cost manufacturing. Our complimentary metal oxide semiconductor or CMOS-based design is well-suited for high volume, low cost manufacturing, scalable performance and integration. Due to our ability to deliver high data transfer rates while meeting the cost requirements of the desktop computer segment, we offer cost-conscious manufacturers of desktop computer storage products with a migration path for building the high-performance drives of the future.
We believe manufacturers of storage devices for the mobile computer segment are primarily concerned with power consumption, heat dissipation, cost and areal density. Our product family targeted at this market segment incorporates advanced digital signal processing technologies. To attempt to meet the requirements of this segment, we provide very low power consumption integrated circuits that can accommodate relatively high data transfer rates, which enables high areal density disk drives.
Integrated circuits used in PCs are increasingly manufactured in smaller advanced geometries. Additionally, these smaller devices are being manufactured with higher levels of functional integration and designed to perform at record speeds, resulting in increased electrical current consumption. Conventional analog solutions require the use of larger passive components to operate effectively in this environment, thus increasing the cost of the solution. Due to the use of advanced digital signal processing, our power management solution is able to perform equivalent functions with the use of fewer and smaller passive components, thus lowering the total system cost and form factor of the PC. Additionally, we believe our power management solutions offer very high efficiency, which allows for improved battery life in laptops and decreased system heat dissipation, thus eliminating or significantly reducing the need for cooling mechanisms such as fans.
Business Storage. Demand for storage in the PC market is increasing rapidly due to the introduction of new data-intensive computing and communications applications, such as web-based commerce, streaming audio and video, enterprise-wide information systems and telecommuting. Also, the connection between the computer's disk drive to the motherboard is transitioning from a slower parallel connection (Parallel ATA) to a faster, more cost-effective serial connection (Serial ATA). We provide solutions tailored to the specific storage requirements of the enterprise, desktop and mobile computer segments.
The proliferation of new technologies such as Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) systems and network-based storage systems is resulting in increased usage of high-performance storage devices. Enterprise computing applications require systems that are capable of storing and retrieving large amounts of data at high rates. As a result, manufacturers of storage devices for the enterprise computer segment place primary importance on disk drive performance, reliability and capacity and are less concerned with size, power consumption and absolute cost. To accommodate these requirements, we provide integrated circuits that produce reliable storage devices with high data transfer rates and high capacity for complex, large-scale processing environments.
Additionally, enterprise computers frequently use multiple disk drives such as RAID configurations. The market is increasingly adopting Serial ATA as a new connection technology between the disk drive and the motherboard. We provide Serial ATA integrated circuits for both disk drive electronics as well as for the connection on the motherboard. Our Serial ATA integrated circuits for the motherboard allow Serial ATA connection of multiple disk drives to the motherboard.
As companies rely more heavily on data-intensive applications, the amount of information that needs to be managed and stored by organizations is increasing rapidly. Servers and peripheral storage devices such as tape libraries, RAID disks and optical storage systems are adequate for storing data, but server capacity is limited and access to peripheral devices can be slow. As a result, companies have moved toward the use of Storage Area Networks, or SANs, and Network Attached Storage, or NAS, systems.
A SAN connects multiple servers to a centralized pool of disk storage. In a SAN, disk maintenance and routine backups are easier to schedule and control because all of the company's storage is treated as a single resource. In some SANs, the disks themselves can copy data to other disks for backup without any processing overhead at the host computers. The NAS system is a related storage device. The NAS is a specialized file server that attaches to the LAN like any other server or workstation; however, rather than containing a complete operating system, it generally uses a slimmed-down operating system and file system specialized for handling file-only reads and writes. SAN and NAS systems require high-performance circuitry. We provide physical layer transceivers and system controllers to the storage networking market.
Carrier Access. The convergence of circuit switched and IP packet based technologies is requiring systems to reliably and intelligently route and process voice, video and data. Carrier access equipment is transitioning from legacy telephony equipment that simply bridges traffic to equipment that performs many higher level functions, including Voice over IP, or VoIP, Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, IP Multicast, Multi-Protocol Label Switching, or MPLS, and Network Address Translation, or NAT. Additionally, service providers are constantly exploring new opportunities to generate revenues across their networks. Integrated circuits within carrier access equipment are being required to support a wide variety of mechanisms to transact service level agreements, provisioning and advanced billing, all while guaranteeing reliability, security and redundancy. Also, the increased sophistication and speed of carrier access equipment is placing greater demands on system and communication controllers to drive CPU subsystem performance. Our internetworking, switching and high-speed transceiver products have been specifically developed to meet the requirements of these new systems. Additionally, as such equipment becomes more and more complex, many networking vendors require software support to drive such higher-level functions. Our RADLAN software has been optimized to drive the performance of our semiconductor devices in delivering such higher-level functions.
SOHO/Residential Networking. The increase in the number of multi-PC households and the use of Internet appliances has driven the demand for home networking solutions, including the desire for shared broadband Internet access. This shared access requires advanced switching products. Manufacturers of Small Office/Home Office, or SOHO, switches are primarily concerned with reduced design complexity to minimize time-to-market concerns. Additionally, these manufacturers demand integrated circuits that are low cost, highly reliable and that allow for the development of systems that are flexible and easy to use. We provide a product family of multi-port Ethernet LAN switches for this market. We also offer a combination of our SOHO switches with our WLAN integrated circuits for our customers to produce wireless SOHO routers and switches.
The use of wireless networking technologies within the SOHO/residential networking market is growing rapidly due to strong demand for increased convenience in mobile PC applications. Our WLAN solutions based upon the IEEE 802.11 standard allow consumers and businesses to have high-speed wireless access to their LANs in homes and offices. Applications that will benefit from the advancement of 802.11 technologies include mobile and desktop personal computers, PDAs, Internet appliances, wireless IP phones and handheld devices with roaming Internet access.