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October 06, 2010

Stateful Processing and its Impact on Legacy Network Processors

By Rajani Baburajan, TMCnet Contributor

Netronome (News - Alert), a provider of highly programmable network flow processors, disclosed the research findings on the impacts of stateful flow processing when implemented on various processor architectures.

The details of Netronome research findings were discussed at the Linley Tech Processor (News - Alert) Conference held recently at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose, California.

According to Netronome research, stateful processing of millions of simultaneous flows has significant consequences on legacy processors.

Networking and communications applications are increasingly depending on higher-level security processing and stateful packet inspection technologies. The throughput, latency and high-touch computation on millions of simultaneous flows results in far more complex processing.

As networks evolve to 10, 40 and 100 Gbps, ordinary cache-based architectures found in multicore processors and pipelined network processors are ill-suited for future designs, according to Netronome’s research.

Daniel Proch (News - Alert), Netronome’s director of product management, said, “As network bandwidths continue to increase at exponential rates, pipeline and cache-based processing strategies are failing to support these throughputs.”

According to Proch, stateful flow processing is required to support IP-based services. The analysis also provides information on why network flow processors are required to keep pace with increasing network speeds.

Netronome’s CEO, Niel Viljoen, said the research validates the need for a new architecture purposely defined to satisfy the performance, latency, security and deep packet inspection requirements of new communications designs.

The Linley Tech Processor Conference, according to company officials, offered is a unique forum for networking-system engineers to discuss the most recent trends in processor design with the leading suppliers of processors and related technology.

In July, Netronome announced that it has been named as one of the 2010 "Pittsburgh 100" companies by the Pittsburgh Business Times. Netronome, based in Cranberry Township, experienced sales growth of 511 percent in the last year alone, the announcement said.

Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.

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