Intel stakes ground with Net exchange architecture

Intel stakes ground with Net exchange architecture

Intel's John Miner, vice president of the communications product group, told developers here last week that, "the heat is on, the clock is ticking", in the race to put in place the building blocks necessary to build systems that can meet the availability and scalability requirements of today's users.

The real heat of the day, however, came from Miner's Intel counterpart, vice president and general manager of the network communications group, Mark Christensen, who unveiled Intel's new Internet Exchange Architecture (IXA).

The chip giant announced 13 new products related to IXA that company officials said will enable the next generation of the Internet.

"The challenge is that the Internet of today was designed over the last decade as a transportation network, designed to move information from point A to point B, never really designed to move services," Christensen said.

To remedy that, Christensen said, networks of tomorrow are going to have to be smarter. Intel's effort at creating that smarter network will be this new IXA architecture, which it says is designed to enable the quick, open, and easy addition of new services and capabilities to networks.

Anchoring the architecture will be the IXP 1200 network processor, a reprogrammable network engine that is just one of the products Intel introduced in what it is calling "Level One" of its IAX strategy.

The IXP 1200 is composed of seven processors, six of which are multithreaded packet processing engines that can carry out four instructions at a time, and four different buses.

At the centre of the processor is Intel's StrongArm technology, which will control interaction between engines.

Three of the four different buses in the IXP 1200 are based on existing standards, Christensen said, and the fourth will be freely licensed to third parties so that they can build products capable of plugging into the architecture. The IXP will also contain two new types of memory controllers.

In addition to the IAX announcement, Miner opened the second day of Intel's developer forum here by echoing the message put forth in the keynote by Intel president and CEO Craig Barrett.

"One of the keys in this environment is taking advantage of high volume standard-based building blocks," Miner said.

Those building blocks, Miner added, will take advantage of Intel's IA-32 and IA-64 server architectures, asserting that there is no architecture other than Intel's that is equipped to handle the demands of future users.

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