Fulcrum's Monaco 10-GbE data center switch improves congestion management

NOVEMBER 17, 2008 -- According Fulcrum representatives, Monaco features 24 SFP+ 10-GbE switch ports and can deliver enhanced congestion management performance because it combines the low 300-nsec L3 latency provided by Fulcrum's FocalPoint silicon with VantagePoint, a new congestion management technology making its debut in the Monaco platform.

NOVEMBER 17, 2008 -- Fulcrum Microsystems (search for Fulcrum Microsystems), says its new Monaco platform is the first 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10-GbE) OEM switch to offer lossless fabric switching, allowing Ethernet switch manufacturers to deliver Ethernet throughout the data center that can carry storage, clustering, and networking traffic.

"For Ethernet to be successful in high-performance computing and storage networking applications, it must deliver advanced congestion management to isolate data flows and provide lossless quality of service," explains Simon Stanley, principal consultant of Earlswood Marketing and analyst for Light Reading's Components Insider.

According Fulcrum representatives, Monaco features 24 SFP+ 10-GbE switch ports and can deliver enhanced congestion management performance because it combines the low 300-nsec L3 latency provided by Fulcrum's FocalPoint silicon with VantagePoint, a new congestion management technology making its debut in the Monaco platform.

The VantagePoint technology enhances the FocalPoint switch features by providing a network-wide view of congestion, contention, and traffic loads. It then uses IEEE 802.1Qau quantized congestion notification (QCN) and FocalPoint's IEEE 802.3x class-based pause congestion management capabilities to dynamically react to this global information.

The increased network efficiency from VantagePoint can have a dramatic throughput improvement in multi-stage fabrics, providing lossless performance on par with Fibre Channel and InfiniBand, claim company representatives. VantagePoint can also be optimized by Fulcrum customers to provide differentiated or application specific functionality.

"Monaco gives every LAN switch company the ability to offer a data center Ethernet solution and capitalize on trends such as virtualization and network convergence, which are having a dramatic impact on enterprises as they look for ways to lower computing costs and power consumption," contends Mike Zeile, president and COO of Fulcrum Microsystems.

The FocalPoint FM4224 Layer-3 switch/router 10-GbE chip is the heart of the Monaco platform. FocalPoint is Fulcrum's family of 10-GbE/1-GbE switch/router chips that offer what the company claims is the industry's lowest latency, along with high port density and maximum scalability for networking, clustering, and interconnect applications.

The platform is a 1U-high rack-mountable SFP+ chassis. These interfaces offer the ability to connect to external testers as well as computing and storage systems via a variety of NICs, CNAs, and host controllers. The platform comes standard with Fulcrum's TestPoint software, and customers have the option of leveraging the ControlPoint software suite, a family of Ethernet bridging, switching, and routing software modules that are integrated into a flexible and extensible Linux framework.

The Monaco platform is available now and is priced at $20,000.

The Monaco platform will make its debut in Fulcrum's booth (#1845) this week at the SuperComputing'08 Conference in Austin, TX. Fulcrum says it will be showing a variety of technologies at the show, including converged Ethernet fabrics and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE).


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