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Network processors run up to 1.4GHz

Posted: 02 Jun 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:network processor? unified computing? software?

Netronome Systems Inc. has rolled a family of network processors that are said to remove the barriers to unified computing architectures by combining high-performance network, content and security processing with general purpose processors, such as Intel Corp.'s IA processors, through I/O virtualization.

The company claimed that its NFP-32xx family of network flow processors is the only line of processors backward-compatible with the Intel IXP28XX network processors, protecting customers' software investment. In 2007, Intel licensed the high-end of its IXP chips to Netronome.

Unlike fixed-function ASICs and configurable network processors, Netronome's NFPs are fully programmable processors capable of addressing the requirements of unified computing architectures. Software-defined I/O supports both L2-L3 packet processing and L4-L7 application- and content-aware deep packet inspection, the company said.

This programmability, coupled with line rate packet processing, provides the highest level of inspection and throughput available in the industry for traditional NPU applications such as high-performance line cards, according to Netronome.

NFPs are powered by 40 multi-threaded programmable networking cores running at 1.4GHz, delivering more than 56 billion instructions per second with 320 hardware threads. This enables 20Gbit/s of L2-L7 deep packet processing with line-rate security and I/O virtualization for millions of simultaneous flows, according to the company.

The devices operate at 15W to 35W and deliver more than 4x the power efficiency of its closest competitor, Netronome said.

The NFP is available in a range of price and performance options spanning from 16 to 40 cores operating at 1.0 or 1.4GHz with optional cryptography support, Netronome said. The devices are sampling today, with general availability expected in the third quarter. Pricing starts at $275.

- Dylan McGrath
Programmable Logic DesignLine





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