Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The TOEs kick back

Sun Microsystems stepped on plenty of TOEs (read TCP offload engines) when the company announced its Neptune networking card and ASIC. Now the TOE makers are kicking back.

Sun wants to ship the TCP processing job off to its multi-threaded server CPUs. That's a mistake, said Larry Boucher, chief executive of TOE designer Alacritech in a missive he fired off to me today.

Sun's approach "is an excellent way to insure that they can make inefficient use of a large system," wrote Boucher (emphasis mine). "TCP protocol processing can be done much more efficiently in a special purpose processor," he wrote.

Here's Boucher's reasoning:

A TOE implementation is hardly half the cost of the CPU itself…By replacing the conventional NIC (or Sun’s new load-distributing NIC) with a TOE NIC, you can effectively double the capacity of the computer. Since a typical high-end computer of this sort is frequently, even in the PC domain, over $25,000, this makes TOE a pretty compelling proposition.

Makes sense to me. Over to you Sun.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's such bull - the less special purpose gear I have in the network, the happier I am. I want general purpose systems that I can provision at will, and if there's any processing power left over, it's not as though it's going to go to waste- I'll just provision Solaris or VMWare or Xen to allocate it to another task. TOEs are a dead end that's being displaced. Move on...