SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Netronome announced server adapter cards with dual 100 Gbit/s ports targeting the latest software-defined networking standards. The FlowNIC-6000 cards and FlowEnvironment software offload network virtualization jobs from Linux servers and appliances at levels earning praise from a handful of system makers and at least one analyst.
The cards use three PCI Gen 3 x 8 links to support 4 x 40G or 2 x 100G Ethernet ports. The Netronome processors on them sport 216 cores and accelerators for functions such as cryptography, PCIe single-root I/O virtualization and RDMA over Converged Ethernet. The cards are configured to handle up to 24 million flow table entries, and 128,000 wild-card rules.
"This is a level of performance no one can come close to," said Bob Wheeler, a senior analyst with The Linley Group (Mountain View, Calif.). "Tilera is the next closest with its 8 x 10G Tilera Encore 72 card, Cavium's Octeon III is not out yet, and Broadcom hasn’t done board products," he said.
The FlowEnvironment software supports network virtualization standards including the OpenFlow 1.4 protocol, Open Vswitch 2.0, as well as Intel's data plane developer's kit. It can run network virtualization approaches, including Network Virtualization, using Generic Routing Encapsulation and Virtual Extensible LANs
The cards and software were announced at the Open Networking Summit here where Broadcom and Freescale announced software for OpenFlow 1.3.1. The version 1.4 supported in the Netronome products handles up to 42 match fields, said Jarrod Siket, general manager for marketing at Netronome.
The software is available now. It also runs on Netronome's prior-generation chips and cards. The new cards are available in limited sampling quantities, with general availability expected in June. Cisco is one of several OEMs using the new cards and software in a network appliance. Japan's NTT is using the new software running on Netronome's prior-generation cards.
“Netronome flow processors and software provide us the feature set and programmability to continue to keep pace with the rapid changes in these hyper-scale networks,” said Tom Ashoff, a vice president of engineering at Cisco, speaking in a Netronome press statement.
A handful of other Netronome customers, including China's ZTE, also expressed support in the press statement. “Netronome’s flow processors and software are ideally suited for our products targeting next-generation network designs,” said Xia Yingchun, chief director of engineering for ZTE's network switches.
"By tightly integrating Netronome’s silicon for flow processing into our next-generation products and adding platform software based on open standards such as OpenFlow we create a new breed of equipment with a unique combination of flow and service processing capabilities," said Peter Marek, a senior director of x86 products at Advantech.
— Rick Merritt, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, EE Times