With PCI Express (PCIe) bus technology now being eyed as a general enterprise networking fabric in some quarters, the time is right to increase the format's throughput for server and storage platforms.
Fortunately, PLX Technology has done just that, with a new line of switches that boost both lane and port configurations for greater data flow. The PCI ExpressLane (PEX) line ranges from the low-end PEX 8649 featuring 48 lanes and 12 ports to the PEX 8696 with 96/24 lanes/ports.
All the devices are PCIe 2.0-compatible and feature a number of proprietary capabilities like x16-port configuration and non-transparency. The company also provides a set of development tools under the visionPAK and performancePAK labels.
PLX has also included its Multicast feature that reduces CPU load by targeting multiple destinations with one data stream. A Multi-root/Multi-host feature allows host ports to control multiple endpoints or places all endpoints on a peer-to-peer mode in backplane applications. This technique can also be extended to up to eight host ports, allowing for data exchange and backup during fail-over situations.
Samples start shipping in Q2, with volume prices ranging from $78.40 to $148.15.