Monday, February 19, 2007

Stepping on TOEs

Like Intel, Sun Microsystems is taking an approach that uses its microprocessors to handle the growing processing requirements of Ethernet. Sun's Neptune card and chip, officially launched today, eschews the use of TCP offload engines (TOEs) favored in the iWarp approach promoted by the RDMA Consortium. Intel announced some time ago its IOAT approach which acclerates TCP processing thanks to some basic features in its Xeon CPUs and chip sets, also side stepping TOEs.

With Sun and Intel both rolling out their own approaches that rely on unique features in their CPUs, the market for chips using the TOE approach will be significantly reduced. It's clear many companies see the transition to 10G as a time to differentiate themselves. What’s unclear is exactly how much pain the industry will go through before we get this sorted out.

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