Marvell: Pushing the Boundaries with Semiconductors

Matt Murphy, President & CEO If you look at the semiconductor industry in the last 50 years, it will give you an idea of how much the human race has advanced in that time. From computers that ran on microfilms that occupied gigantic rooms to perform simple tasks such as calculators to the smartphones in your hands today—that is a giant leap forward. Today’s smartphones and computers are all powered by semiconductors the size of a coin.

These semiconductors are in every device that we build, and as time goes on, newer technologies will only make these parts smaller and more advanced. Leading the charge in this regard is Marvell Technology [NASDAQ: MRVL]—a global leader in providing complete silicon solutions. “Marvell is at the forefront of innovation in the semiconductor industry, delivering cutting-edge technology at the heart of the world’s most powerful solutions. We are committed to working to build upon a solid foundation and create even greater value,” says Matt Murphy, President, and CEO of Marvell Technology. Marvell was founded in 1995 at the time when Seagate, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Toshiba, and Samsung accounted for 97 percent of the sales of integrated circuits.

Marvell first revolutionized the digital storage industry by moving information at speeds never thought possible. Today, that same breakthrough innovation remains at the heart of the company's storage, networking, and connectivity solutions. With intellectual property and deep system-level knowledge, Marvell's semiconductor solutions continue to transform the enterprise, cloud, automotive, industrial, and consumer markets. “Few technologies have impacted the modern world more than semiconductors, and we are now entering an era that promises even greater change,” explains Murphy. Marvell empowers its customers and partners to always be at the forefront of technology, innovation, and performance.

Marvell offers a range of solutions for many verticals in the market, from automobiles to embedded processors to microcontrollers to storage solutions. “Marvell in 2011 was the first company to enable a Wi-Fi connected car which is the Audi R8,” exclaims Murphy, proudly. The Marvell Mobile Hotspot as it was known was launched in 2009 and revolutionized the way individuals connected to the internet. It negated the need for the constant search of public hotspots that often throttled networks and were unreliable. “Now we have got a whole new product line in Ethernet in the car, which basically connects all of the different ECUs in the vehicle together and it is an enabler of an autonomous vehicle,” he continues.

Marvell offers embedded processors that are designed to deliver optimum performance while consuming low amounts of power and high integration levels.

When looking at the industrial aspect of Marvell’s solutions, the data processing power that is required at the edge of the network holds many advantages

Being ARMv7 compliant, the cores of the CPU are the most advanced in the industry at the moment and will be able to deliver the best processing and performance power while being extremely efficient. These industrial-grade processors are designed on sub-micron mixed signal technology to enable the seamless implementation of processor cores with a wide range of high-speed interfaces to fit the various needs of each and every application. The company offers a range of embedded processors, from the ARMADA 8K and 7K lines to Cortex-A53 MoChi-based SoCs (System on chips) to quad-core and dual-core chips.

Across the board, all the organizations that Marvell caters to—be it enterprises or small-medium business—have the latest ARM-based technology, with industry-leading switch and Ethernet PHY products. They also receive a comprehensive portfolio of wireless solutions to address the ever-increasing data and bandwidth requirements that are becoming ever more mission-critical for organizations to conduct their business activities and customer demands successfully. As more and more devices connect to the network, the requirement for more ports and higher density switches increases due to the added stress on the network. This is where Marvell’s solutions are a head above the rest—the company’s complete portfolio of networking and wireless products are proponents of high-performance access. The optimized solutions have been built across a variety of speeds and feeds across the market—from 1 and 2.5 gigabit all the way to the newer 100-gigabit industry standards. This makes the solutions extremely scalable and flexible.

Another essential aspect is network connectivity that is needed to support the amount of data that is being sent and received with the sophisticated automation and manufacturing technologies. To help organizations improve connectivity, Marvell offers a complete range of switches that are robust—SoCs, PHYs, wireless and storage technologies—that are specifically designed with industrial applications in mind. These applications are mainly targeted at the smart manufacturing, machine-to-machine communication, surveillance, medicine, and healthcare industries.

When looking at the industrial aspect of Marvell’s solutions, the data processing power that is required at the edge of the network holds many advantages. As industrial applications do not often have the data on the cloud or data warehouses, they capture streaming data that can optimize production and avoid equipment failures or product defects.
To this end, Marvell offers high-density, secure and intelligent 10GbE/5GbE/2.5GbE/1GbE switching solutions with its Prestera DX packet sensors that access the edge and aggregation layers of industrial networks, to enable embedded and interconnected Ethernet applications.

The semiconductor market is constantly growing and maturing; many companies are also exploring other innovative methods to improve the yield of the product. With the requirement of delivering millions of devices on a monthly basis, there is a need to improve the manufacturing operations in order to improve the revenue gains significantly.

The company has had a turbulent history in the past couple of years and has been working its way back to the top ever since. The organization’s top management was reshuffled in a bid to get the company to be financially sound. Over time, the company has built out a new management team and has refocused the organization. “We re-focused fundamentally on storage, networking, cloud, and infrastructure as the key drivers for our company's future, and that's now set us up over the last year to grow our top line, make a ton of progress with customers, and then enable us, with the balance sheet we've got,” asserts Murphy.

"With leading intellectual property and deep system-level knowledge, Marvell's semiconductor solutions continue to transform the enterprise, cloud, automotive, industrial, and consumer markets"

Marvell has been a partner of ARM for a few years now and has really capitalized on the association. “Their technology is embedded in almost every product we do. We sell standalone ARM processors, but we also use their CPU cores in almost all of our system on chip products,” says Murphy. In September of 2017, Marvell completed its acquisition of Cavium, the fabless semiconductor company, which only further strengthened its expertise in ARM-based technology—Cavium is also a long-term partner of ARM. Cavium has pushed ARM technology to the leading edge, which is server class CPUs for data centers.

“Applications such as AI, 5G, Cloud, automotive, and edge computing all require engineering solutions that combine high bandwidth, very low power consumption, and leadership in complex system on chip solutions. As a combined company, we now offer industry-leading IP, a broad portfolio of infrastructure solutions, and a talented team of innovators ready to tackle our customers’ toughest challenges,” Murphy says. “The next wave of semiconductor growth will be fueled by advancements in the data economy,” he continues. With the reshuffling, Marvell has put a lot more importance on the Industrial Internet of Things, which has really gotten the ball rolling in terms of getting the company back in the position of its glory days. “The reaction we have gotten over the last few days as I met with investors is they love the fact you are getting a pure play infrastructure cloud levered IoT-levered company that really takes care of all of the interconnections within the cloud and to the edge. At the device level we have some solutions for that too, but primarily once the data gets onto the internet,” concludes Murphy.


Santa Clara, CA

Matt Murphy, President & CEO

Manufactures and offers integrated circuit solutions using communications mixed-signal processing and digital signal processing technologies