10GBase-T coming to your motherboard

Solarflare this week introduced 10GBase-T LAN-on-motherboard chips, bringing copper-based 10 Gigabit Ethernet to new territory.

The chips are members of a new family of 10 Gigabit components that includes single- and dual-port LAN-on-motherboard chips and a dual-port controller. Solarflare touted the chips’ ability to support 10 times as many virtual machines and virtual NICs as others.

The company said the chips have latency under 6 microseconds server-to-server and under 7 microseconds switch-to-server. They can also provision and manage IP flows for the best application performance. Suggested applications range from medical imaging and seismic image processing for oil and gas exploration to social networking and cloud-computing applications that are more real-time.

Analysts said that multiprocessor and multi-core servers, as well as financial market trading and server virtualization, are increasing the demand for high-speed networking in the data center.

Solarflare quoted Arista Networks as a customer. The switch maker says it is interested in the LAN-on-motherboard chips because more servers with 10 Gigabit Ethernet would increase the need for more switches with 10 Gigabit.

Solarflare has been up to its eyeballs in 10 Gigabit Ethernet development. Last year, the company dropped the power requirements of its 10GBase-T transceiver and gave it Wake-on-LAN capability, and Solarflare says this family of chips represents its third generation of 10 Gigabit Ethernet products.

The chips are backwards-compatible with Gigabit Ethernet. Drivers for Windows, Red Hat and SuSE Linux, Solaris, VMWare and Citrix XenServer are available. Samples are available for OEMs today.

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