A new pair of Ethernet controllers from Intel is creating buzz not only for what they do, but for what they don't.
The company's 82598 and 82575 controllers were created for multicore Xeon systems, where they are expected to better distribute workloads throughout the various processing cores, particularly in heavily consolidated environments. The 598 is a dual-port 10GbE PCI-Express model specifically geared toward LAN systems and Ethernet-based storage. The 575 is a 1 GbE design for use in quad-port server adapters.
In keeping with current data center trends, the controllers were designed with low power consumption in mind, according to PC Pro. The 598 averages just 4.8 watts, which will translate into substantial savings as server environments grow increasingly dense.
Both chips include a number of techniques designed to ease I/O bottlenecks caused by physical and virtual server sprawl, says PCWorld.com. Included in the line-up are multiple queuing, on-chip virtualization capability and packet prioritization. By handling these networking tasks, system CPUs are free to get back to processing actual data.
EE Times reports that what's unusual, though, is Intel's decision to eschew some of the advanced features that are becoming increasingly popular in the Ethernet community. Things like TCP off-load engines (TOEs) and Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) aren't found on the Intel chips, although, to be fair, not everyone is convinced of the cost and performance advantages of these technologies.
Instead of a TOE, for example, Intel uses its homegrown I/O Acceleration Technology (I/OAT) for terminating TCP traffic. The company claims 10 Gbps throughput with 8.9 microsecond application latency using only 10 percent of the Xeon's resources.
For many enterprises, though, the prospect of improved I/O is a welcome development no matter how it's engineered.