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Intel introduced Thursday a 10Gb/s Ethernet (10GbE) adapter for servers that helps overcome for the first time the cost and technical barriers that have previously made 10GbE server connectivity impractical for the data center.

According to analysts, making 10GbE server connectivity viable in the data center requires an adapter that is priced at less than $5000 and operates on standard multimode fiber, which represents 90% of the optical cabling in data center networks.

The new Intel PRO/10GbE SR Server Adapter is the first to meet both of these requirements. The server adapter utilizes XPAK optical technology to reduce the price over previous adapters by 40%, making it ideal for server bandwidth-intensive applications such as server clusters, network storage, medical imaging and graphic design.

The adapter is designed for server deployments, which, in data centers, involve distances of fewer than 300 meters. The XPAK optics enable 10GbE connectivity over multimode fiber and their small-form-factor makes the adapter compatible with standard server slots, enabling denser server environments.

Intel has been working with equipment makers to provide interoperability with leading switches. In particular, the company has collaborated with Cisco Systems to offer 10GbE interoperability with Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches which offer industry leading 10GbE price/performance capabilities to facilitate broad deployment of secure and scaleable 10GbE solutions. Additionally, Cisco and Intel have joined efforts to foster 10GbE in the data center. Together, Cisco and Intel are collaborating on educational seminars, and product sampling programs to assist IT managers in deploying 10-GbE networks.

The Intel PRO/10GbE SR Server Adapter is available now and costs $4770. Later this summer, Intel will introduce a version for single-mode fiber, the Intel PRO/10GbE LR Server Adapter, for applications involving distances up to 10 kilometers.

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