Chelsio launches 10G Ethernet for less

Chelsio Communications' launch of a 10G bit/sec Ethernet network interface card for about US$2,000 (AU$2,797) could signal the start of a price decline that will encourage customers to embrace the high-speed technology.

The fiber-based N100 server adapter is half the size and 60% less expensive than competitive products, Chelsio says. Gartner says the average price of a 10G NIC is about US$6,000 (AU$8,391).

In addition to accelerating network connections,Chelsio's new offering can speed processing by offloading TCP/IP computations from servers, the company says.

The product, which runs in Linux, Unix and Windows machines outfitted with PCI-X slots, was launched last week at LinuxWorld Expo in San Francisco.

The N100 is based on chip technology from Chelsio's T100 host bus adapters for iSCSI storage networking, but is half the size of the T100. The size lets the new NIC be deployed in smaller servers and makes it easier to install multiple cards in one box, the company says.

Chips on the N100 let the NIC take over TCP/IP packet processing from a server's CPU. Chelsio says this lets a server processor devote more resources to running applications and the operating system. The company says this architecture also lets it handle up to 64,000 simultaneous TCP/IP connections on one NIC. It says this is 52% better than competing 10G Ethernet NICs from S2IO and Intel - the other two vendors with 10G Ethernet NICs on the market.

Gartner says the number of 10G NICs installed will jump from about 7,000 this year to 550,000-plus by 2007. Large organizations consolidating servers will be driving this growth, the research firm says.

By 2007, the average price for a 10G NIC will drop to about US$3,100 (AU$ 4,336) per unit, partly as a result of their fiber components becoming less expensive, Gartner says. The emergence of a copper 10G standard, expected in 2005, also will drive down price

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