Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Broadcom Introduces 2.5 Gigabit PCI Express Controller

Broadcom began sampling the first 2.5 Gbps controller as part of its NetXtreme II family of C-NICs (converged network interface controllers). Key features of the C-NIC line include TCP/IP offload engine, iSCSI, and Remote Direct Memory Access capability.

The new 2.5 Gbps Ethernet controller, which is optimized for embedded blade server applications, more than doubles the throughput of standard Gigabit networking while improving overall CPU utilization by up to five times. Significantly, it enables up to four separate network fabrics found inside a blade server to be converged over standard Ethernet. The controller is positioned as a cost-point replacement for existing 1 Gigabit Ether implementations.

Broadcom said current blade servers rely on up to four highly specialized fabrics to support the four data types that blade servers require to operate efficiently: storage, clustering, management and data networking. To date, the only way to effectively implement blade servers required utilizing specialized network fabrics for each network type. This multi-fabric approach drastically increased overall system cost and compromised the overall value of the blade server implementation. The new NetXtreme II C-NIC enables OEMs to design-in a 2.5 Gbps device to perform all of the networking I/O functions over a single, unified Ethernet fabric. This eliminates the need for specialized networks, fundamentally changing the way that blade servers can be built.

The new NetXtreme II BCM5708S represents the second generation of C-NIC silicon solutions from Broadcom.

Remote Direct Memory Access, which is an advanced feature for memory-to-memory transfers in high-performance workgroup clusters, could provide up to an order of magnitude improvement over standard Gigabit Ethernet connections, thereby competing with Infiniband and other such implementations.


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