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Intel Corp. has announced Highland Forest, a new communications platform that combines the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v2 with the new Intel communications chipset series 89xx (codename Coleto Creek). The platform will create efficiencies for telecom customers though workload consolidation, streamlined R&D resources, common software tools and faster system integration.

Networking Infrastructure Transforming

Networking infrastructure today is in the midst a massive transformation. Migration of fixed function networking workloads to standards based server platforms running enterprise grade open source networking software. Although the standardization process has done a marvelous job in addressing packet flows, opportunities are being missed at higher function levels with respect to virtualization, security, compression, and power management to name a few.  Recognizing this void, the industry is establishing standard architectural approaches – namely software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) – to improve the way networks are deployed and services are delivered.

With communications networks moving to server technology, we’re seeing a convergence of telecom, data center, and enterprise infrastructure technologies. In fact, technologies from data centers (e.g., virtualization, power management, security, and standard hardware and software) are being applied across the board, and the response has been extremely enthusiastic. While technologies including DPDK are realizing adoption in cloud and enterprise environments. 

Open Standards-Based Acceleration

Network equipment built on standards-based architectures helps reduce the effort and cost to deploy common network functions, like compression and cryptography. For instance, equipment manufacturers can cost-effectively add these workloads using open source frameworks like zib (compression) and OpenSSL (security). But with increasing throughput requirements, acceleration is needed. That’s where Intel QuickAssist technology comes in, boosting the performance of these solutions and others with special-purpose hardware accelerators that can easily be called into action.

Developers can dramatically boost the performance of open source solutions with no, or minor, code changes. A simple API invokes the hardware-based compression and cryptography acceleration supported by Intel QuickAssist Technology using Intel-developed or open source framework patches.

Intel Highland Forest and Coleto Creek

The accelerators are integrated in a family of pin-compatible server chipsets, called the Intel communications chipset 89xx series, and in the Intel Atom processor C2758, which is ideal for entry-level, network equipment. The technology delivers scalable crypto performance up to 50Gb/s, PKE performance of 40kops/sec (2 kb keys), and compression up to 24Gb/s per chipset – via on-chip hardware accelerators that greatly minimize the load on the CPU.

With a dual-socket Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v2 platform with the Intel communications chipset 89xx Series, performance scales up to 255Mpps of L3 forwarding (64  bytes packets), 110Gb/s of IPsec throughput, 200Gb/s of OpenSSL throughput, and 140Gb/s of deep packet inspection (DPI) throughput.

The Network of the Future

Intel sees networks that are built increasingly on standards based architectures – delivering maximum flexibility and minimizing TCO.  The company believes that the use of a common architecture and common tools to accelerate innovation and reduce development costs. Intel sees further consolidation of telco, cloud and enterprise technologies allowing end users to improve time to provisioning while increasing flexibility and scale. The world’s largest chipmaker predicts that operator networks built using these standards based approaches to drive down Opex/Capex and increase services revenue.

Tags: Intel, Xeon, Highland Forest, Coleto Creek

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