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July 29, 2010

Packetarium Integrates 6-core OCTEON II Network Processors

By Anil Sharma, TMCnet Contributor

Advantech, a global manufacturer of telecom computing blades and multicore network processor platforms, in close collaboration with Cavium Networks (News - Alert), a provider of semiconductor products that enable intelligent processing for networking, communications and the digital home, has announced the first two products in Advantech’s (News - Alert) Packetarium product line to feature breakthrough next generation OCTEON II processors from Cavium.

Officials with Advantech said that Packetarium NCP-3120 integrates a 6-core OCTEON II CN6335 into a 1U rackmount form factor targeting mainstream, high volume enterprise routers, unified threat management (UTM) appliances and enterprise gateways.

Company officials said that at the high end, the NCPB-2320 is a 32-core OCTEON II CN6860-based board which slots into Advantech’s flagship Packetarium NCP-7560.

According to company officials, with a payload of up to eight NCPB-2320 boards, the system now packs as many as 256 cores into the 4U server space to handle 80 Gbps of network traffic from multiple 10 GbE and GbE ports.

Applications which will reap the performance benefits of the new OCTEON II processor family include high-capacity radio network controllers, network acceleration platforms, as well as data center and LTE (News - Alert) gateways.

The OCTEON II processors integrate 32 enhanced MIPS64 cores for up to 320GHz of 64 bit compute power and 680 advanced hardware acceleration engines in a Packetarium system. 

This company officials said, is combined with an extensive set of on-chip L3-L7 application and security acceleration engines, enabling superior performance for a wide range of application workloads.

For Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) and content processing applications, third generation DPI engines deliver deterministic throughput up to 15Gbps per chip and over 80Gbps per system independent of number of rules and number of flows, a new and essential capability not available in alternative solutions.

The NCP-3120, based on the 6-core Cavium OCTEON II CN6335, brings new scalability to the Packetarium range. Network Processor (News - Alert) Boards used in the high-end system integrate seamlessly into the 1U platform to facilitate software re-use and allow OEM’s to market entry level variants for cost-sensitive higher volume deployment.

According to company officials, the system is designed with flexibility in mind and offers a range of replaceable front I/O cards for GbE and 10 GbE connectivity as well as a standard PCIe x8 card expansion slot.

With the accelerated packet processing capabilities of the OCTEON II, the NCP-3120 is a cost effective platform which meets a wide range of UTM connectivity and bandwidth requirements. It also supports up to eight 2.5” SATA-2 Solid State Disks for data caching or database applications.

The NCPB-2320 32-core Packetarium board, with up to 16GB DDR3, routes four XAUI (10GbE) ports to the Packetarium NCP-7560 system’s main board for high-speed switching.

All boards are linked to a Broadcom (News - Alert) BCM56820 10 GbE switch on the carrier board which also provides six front panel 10 GbE SFP+ ports and sixteen GbE SFP ports via a Broadcom BCM56512 GbE switch.

“The new OCTEON II processors deliver up to 7x higher performance over our current OCTEON Plus designs in a fully software compatible fashion enabling OEM customers to easily upgrade their existing systems for higher performance,”  said Byron Lin, director at Advantech’s networks and telecom group.

Lin said that in addition, the power saving technology in OCTEON II significantly reduces the total cost of ownership and more importantly, the overall carbon footprint.

Anil Sharma is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anil’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Erin Monda

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