New Roles in Store for Ethernet

Myricom, others debut offerings.

Myricom Inc. and Startup Level 5 Networks Inc. last week each introduced offerings designed to eventually bring 10 Gigabit Ethernet into data centers and HPC environments. In addition, Neterion Inc., which makes 10 Gigabit Ethernet adapters, earlier this month unveiled a channel strategy designed to fuel demand for Ethernet technology.

Myricom, of Arcadia, Calif., unveiled new switches and NICs (network interface cards) that CEO Chuck Seitz said provide "the convergence of 10G Myrinet and 10G Ethernet." The fourth generation of Myrinet, called Myri-10G, will be available in September. Myrinet is widely used in the high-performance-computing field.

Myri-10G switches provide 16 to 128 ports in single enclosures. The NICs can work with 10 Gigabit Ethernet or 10 Gigabit Myrinet switches. In addition, 10 Gigabit Myrinet switch fabrics will be able to connect to 10 Gigabit Ethernet networks and storage environments through protocol-conversion devices.

The Center for Computational Research at the University at Buffalo-State University of New York has been using Myrinet fabrics in its compute clusters since the late 1990s. Center Director Russ Miller said he plans to incorporate the new Myri-10G into the center, saying it will improve performance in areas such as grids and visualization.

"In addition, the new 10G fabric should allow for a seamless multiuse network incorporating storage, administrative and HPC communication needs, in comparison to having multiple networks as we do today," Miller said.

For its part, Level 5 Networks, of Sunnyvale, Calif., announced EtherFabric, a combination of software and silicon that CEO Dan Karr said will improve application performance and bandwidth capabilities in HPC environments and data centers while reducing latency by up to five times over conventional Ethernet offerings. It more than doubles the efficiency of CPUs in the environment.

A key to EtherFabric is backward compatibility with Ethernet environments, requiring no new protocols or application modifications.

EtherFabric is available this month for 1 Gigabit Ethernet environments and will support 10 Gigabit Ethernet in the first half of next year. It also supports PCI and PCI-X and will support PCI-Express by years end.

Neterion, of Cupertino, Calif., this month kicked off a channel program to push sales of its suite of 10 Gigabit Ethernet Xframe adapters. Tracy Crowe, director of market development and alliances for Neterion, said the program will broaden Neterions distribution points to include OEMs and the channel.


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