While 10-Gbit Ethernet (10GE) has been available for a few years, cost and implementation methods have slowed its adoption. Yet as Internet connections have increased, the use of storage networks has expanded. And as the sheer volume of data to be moved in almost any networking transaction has become greater, the pressure is on to increase server and network speeds.
In servers, increasing the network speed to 10 Gbits/s increases the load on the host server CPU, so there’s significantly less processing power available for real applications. Also, enterprise connectivity today is ready for its next speed upgrade. The number of Gigabit Ethernet (GE) ports required to support the server’s bandwidth has increased beyond 4 Gbits/s, driven by virtualization and I/O-intensive applications running on multicore CPUs.
Broadcom’s BCM57710 converged network interface controller (C-NIC) is an extension of the NetXtreme II line of GE C-NICs, which operated at 1 Gbit/s. It enables simultaneous processing of network traffic, storage, processor clustering, and management on-chip as well as the convergence of different traffic types over a single Ethernet fabric.
The chip supports Microsoft’s Windows transmission Control Protocol (TCP) chimney engine, Internet Small Computer Systems Interface (iSCSI) block storage, and remote direct memory access (RDMA).
Additionally, it lets the server CPU run the primary applications it was meant to handle. Working as part of a network interface card (NIC) in a server using Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003 with TCP chimney, the BCM57710 demonstrates a performance gain of up to six times with layer 2 delivering 4.7 Gbits/s at 99% CPU utilization and TCP chimney support delivering line rate performance with 33% utilization.
The BCM57710 was designed to be used on a motherboard or NIC (see the figure). It has integrated dual 10-Gbit/s media- access controllers (MACs) and dual XAUI/10GBaseCX-4/ 10GBaseKX-4, a PCI Express x8 host interface, and network interfaces including dual 1000Base and 10GBase for 1 Gbit/s and 2.5 and 10 Gbits/s.
The TCP offload engine (TOE) works with IPv4 and IPv6. No external memory is required. Also included are iSCSI and RDMA controllers. Simultaneous operation of Ethernet, TOE, iSCSI, and RDAM modes is permitted. Direct connection to XENPAK or X2 10GE optical modules is provided.
The device comes in a 676-pin, 27- by 27-mm FBGA+HS package. It uses a 1-V core and 3.3-V I/O. IEEE 1149.1 JTAG support is included. Samples are now being supplied to early- access customers. Volume production is expected in the fourth quarter of 2007. Inquire directly for prices.