• United States

S2io emerges with fat adapter

Jun 10, 20032 mins

* S2io shows off 10 Gigabit Ethernet adapter for servers

Start-up S2io Technologies emerged from secrecy last week at the Data Center Futures Conference, where it showed off a 10 Gigabit Ethernet adapter for multi-processor servers and network-attached storage devices.

The adapter contains an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) that provides a big pipe for 32- and 64-way servers, which hit I/O constraints and server memory contentions once they contain six or more PCI-based adapters.

“These guys are way ahead of the market, but I think they understand the growing dynamics behind the use of 10 Gigabit Ethernet at the core part of the data center,” says Jamie Gruener, senior analyst with the Yankee Group. “The more PCI slots you add, the more troublesome I/O becomes. You need some way of handling it.” 

S2io’s adapter is expected, when it is officially announced in August, to replace six to eight Gigabit Ethernet adapters. A future adapter will add TCP Offload capability, to be used in smaller, two- to eight-way servers, which generally do not have the number of PCI slots that larger multiprocessing servers do.

“We have very deep technical relationships with all of the major server and storage OEMs,” says Kimball Brown, vice president of marketing. “The 10 Gigabit market is just now becoming real. Foundry, Cisco, Extreme and the others have brought out product for around $5,000 a port. For the first time now Fortune 1000 data centers can now economically adopt the 10 Gig technology.”

One of S2io’s current partners is HP.

While Gruener says 10 Gigabit may be necessary at the edge of the network, he says it will take years for the technology to take off at the core of the data center.

He says the challenge remains of offloading the I/O from the CPU by using either TCP offload techniques or Remote Data Management Access.

S2io’s adapter is a half-size card with error-correcting memory and 32- and 64-bit drivers for Windows, Unix and Linux. It competes with Intel’s full-size Pro/10GbE LR Server Adapter.

S2io has 45 employees in Cupertino, Calif., and Ottawa, Canada. It was founded in September 2001. The company’s name refers to Server and Storage I/O.