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.