TCP Offload lifts 10G Ethernet over other technologies

* Chelsio’s TCP Offload Engine evaluated

Chelsio Communications this week is crowing over the fact that The Ohio State University found that its 10 Gigabit Ethernet network interface card outperforms InfiniBand and Myrinet in server cluster environments.

Chelsio uses TCP Offload to increase performance. Its TCP Offload Engine handles the TCP protocol stack in hardware so that the host server or workstation doesn’t have to do so. This frees up the host CPU to do other tasks, and the machine should be able to use more of the bandwidth available to it.

D. K. Panda, professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Ohio State, compared Chelsio’s technology to InfiniBand and Myrinet.

Chelsio quotes him as saying, “Although significant research has been performed on the individual technologies, no work had been done to compare the capabilities of these technologies in a homogenous environment. For high-performance computing environments where TCP/IP is dominant (such as legacy scientific applications, grid-based or heterogeneous-computing applications, file and storage systems, and other commercial applications), 10 Gigabit Ethernet with [the TCP Offload Engine] is the only high-performance solution, and Chelsio is the only vendor offering this solution today.”

Meanwhile, Los Alamos National Laboratory confirmed that 10 Gigabit Ethernet with the TCP Offload is faster than 10 Gigabit Ethernet alone. The researchers there say that, compared to ordinary 10 Gigabit, Chelsio’s technology improved throughput by 50% to 100%, increased the transaction rate by an order of magnitude on heavily loaded Web servers, and used 40% fewer CPU cycles.

Interestingly, the researchers say that the improvements in CPU utilization obviate the need for jumbo frames.

The results (and other reports) can be found here:

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