As the microprocessor industry has shifted focus away from raw megahertz in favor of multiple cores and symmetric multiprocessing (SMP), developers and IT managers have struggled to adapt to the new computing paradigm. Adding more cores is all well and good, but until the other components of the IT environment directly support multithreading, some of the touted performance gains remain largely hypothetical.
No company understands SMP as well as Sun Microsystems, having invested heavily in the technology since the 1990s. Sun's current UltraSparc T1 chips are the most multithreaded processor designs in the mainstream server market. Now Sun has turned its eye toward bringing network hardware up to speed with its new chip designs.
The Sun Multithreaded 10 Gig E Networking Technology, announced today, is the first networking hardware optimized specifically for parallel threaded environments, according to Sun spokespeople. By comparison, most current network hardware was designed to work with single-core, single-threaded processors, which creates a bottleneck in multi-core hardware. Sun's new design should benefit network-intensive applications, such as server virtualization or storage networking over iSCSI, running on multi-core x86 and Sparc processors.
The new network interfaces are available now, starting at $498 per port.