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IBM servers get 10 Gig boost

TCP offloaders aim to sharpen BladeCenter

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10 Gig Ethernet specialists Chelsio and NetXen are targeting IBM servers - and in particular IBM's BladeCenter systems - for network acceleration and virtualisation.

Both companies sell triple-function cards able to off-load TCP/IP networking, iSCSI storage and RDMA clustering traffic. IBM will now offer the NetXen 10 Gig SR adapter as an option on its x86-based System x servers, while the $895 (£450) Chelsio S320em-bc has been qualified by industry group Blade.org for the IBM BladeCenter - IBM already sells a NetXen 10 Gig adapter for BladeCenter, listing it at $899.

Chelsio said that its dual-port 10Gig mezzanine card is optimised for bladeserver storage applications. It can run both InfiniBand and Fibre Channel apps on Ethernet, and consumes just 16W, which Chelsio claimed makes it the lowest power card of its type.

The NetXen cards also support Linux Sockets Acceleration and are firmware-upgradable for when new protocols come along that need accelerating, that company said.

The two firms both argue that 10 Gigabit is the first generation of Ethernet that is able to run any and all networking applications.

"10 Gigabit Ethernet enables the convergence of storage, clustering, and server networking applications onto a single unified fabric," said Chelsio boss Kianoosh Naghshineh. "Our additional traffic management, classification, and virtualisation functions will further relieve the host CPU of the burden of all byte-touching operations at 10 Gig."

NetXen president David Pulling added: "Offering advanced 10 Gigabit Ethernet capabilities for volume x86 server platforms is an important step in enabling widespread technology adoption. The evolution toward the converged, agile, secure enterprise network of the future has truly begun." ®

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