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10GbE chip supports FCoE, iSCSI, TCP

Posted: 25 Mar 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:FCoE? Fibre Channel over Ethernet? 10GbE? switch?

From Chelsio Communications Inc. comes T4, a four-port 10Gbit/s chip that supports Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and new virtualization features. The device is the first chip to support in one device four key protocols including FCoE, iSCSI and TCP offload. It also includes an embedded switch to support the PCIe standard for I/O virtualization. The switch can manage traffic among as many as 128 virtual machines in a single server.

"The problem has been that most 10GbE chips are optimized for only one protocol," said Bob Wheeler, principal analyst at market watcher The Linley Group. By contrast, the T4 "supports the latest protocol offloads in combination with the latest virtualization features," said Wheeler. "The major challenge for Chelsio is qualifying its FCoE software stack to compete with the proven stacks from QLogic and Emulex," he added.

Chelsio also reduced latency on the T4 to 2?s for both RDMA and UDP protocols. It hopes the chip will compete favorably with Infiniband parts for use in computer clusters.

The 65nm chip measures 27mm x 27mm and consumes seven to 10W average. It will sample before July.

"From here I think we will be focused on 40- and 100GbE," said Kianoosh Naghshineh, CEO of Chelsio. "Those transitions will be faster than 10G was because the physical layer technology is not changingit is using four and ten 10G channels," he said. "There will also be cost reductions and a latency road map to a sub-microsecond solution."

At conferences in February, engineers said they are hard at work on the first generation of 40- and 100G Ethernet chips as well as 25G Serdes, driven by demand from carriers.

"Mellanox already supports 40Gbit links on its ConnectX-2 silicon, which also supports quad-data-rate InfiniBand," said Wheeler. "But line-rate 40Gbit links will require PCIe Gen3 on the server platform," he added.

Naghshineh said Chelsio had 2009 revenues of $23 million, based in part on sales of about 65,000 of its T3 chips. It expects revenues of as much as $40 million this year. Profitability is "days away," he added.

The company does not anticipate raising any more venture capital and is not seeking an acquisition but does hold out hopes for a public offering eventually, he said.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times

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