Electronic Design

10GE Controller Transforms Data Centers With Virtualized I/O And Unified Networking

The 82599 10-Gbit/s dual-port Ethernet controller from Intel is designed to address some of the trends driving datacenter upgrades. For example, it includes hardware optimization for I/O virtualization and supports unified networking, allowing local-area network (LAN), storage-area network (SAN), and Internet Protocol communications (IPC) traffic to share the same Ethernet network.

With data-center traffic continuing to grow, IT departments are implementing server virtualization with multicore servers with higher bandwidth and network storage. IT managers want to consolidate multiple Gigabit Ethernet ports into a single 10-Gbit/s network for lower cost and complexity.

The 82599 is designed to work with Intel’s Xeon processor 5500 series platform. The combination can produce performance that is more than twice the total I/O throughput of previous-generation servers. When the 5500 series is using a network interface card (NIC) with an 82599, performance data shows that the combination can handle bidirectional Ethernet traffic exceeding 50 Gbits/s whereas previous generation servers could only handle up to 17 Gbits/s.

Basic features include PCI Express 2.0 interfaces and intelligent queue support optimized for multicore processors. Intel’s Virtualization Technology for Connectivity (VT-c) helps reduce I/O bottlenecks, boost throughput, and reduce latency. The Virtual Machine Device Queues improve performance by offloading the data-sorting burden from the virtualmachine manager (VMM) to the network controller. The Virtual Machine Direct Connect provides near native performance by facilitating direct assignment of a virtual function on an Ethernet port.

Also, the 82599 allows multiple traffic types to share a single Ethernet connection. It features Fibre Channel over Ethernet offloads, iSCSI support for SAN and LAN sharing of the network, and data-center bridging that enables Ethernet to support mixed LAN and storage workloads.

The 82599 is designed for NICs, server blades, LAN on motherboard (LOM), and mezzanine card implementations. Its physical-layer (PHY) integration eliminates the need for a separate PHY chip, reducing cost and board space. Supported PHYs include 10GBaseKX4 and 10GBaseKR for backplane designs and blade servers. And, it has serializerdeserializer (SERDES) framer interface (SFI) integration for SFP+ optical designs including adapters and LOM connections.

The package measures 25 by 25 mm and consumes less than 6 W (see the figure). Pricing ranges from $97 to $132 for quantities in the 1000-unit range. Intel is expecting to offer complete NICs based on the 82599 in the third quarter this year.


Intel Corp.

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