Intel puts rocket up data center Ethernet

A new network card by Intel Corp. will give a ten-fold increase data center bandwidth, the company claims.

The network interface card (NIC) includes 10Gigabit Ethernet to connect data center servers to 10GigE networks. A lack of links between 10GigE-capable switches (such as the Cisco Catalyst 6500) and servers is holding back its use in data center, said the VP of Intel's networking and storage group, Hans Geyer.

Currently, switches have 10Gb ports but use only the 1Gb port to talk with servers because server adapters don't use the multimode fibre generally used in data centers. Intel's PRO/10GbE SR Server Adapter does however so networks gain a tenfold increase in bandwidth.

Intel cards are faster than other 10GigE adapters, Geyer claimed, but of the company's better packaging on the card. With other cards, the delivered data rate is less than the 10Gb received because of limitations in components, circuitry and packaging, he said.

The new card will help with the spread of high-end iSCSi storage area networks, the company said. However, there is no TCP/IP offload Engine (TOE) on the card, so the host server has to expend CPU cycles processing the TCP/IP protocol algorithms involved. And that could prove quite significant with a 10GigE link.

The adapter's price is $4,770 (AUD$6,600), and the maximum link length supported is 300 meters.

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