Powerful SoCs for Low-Power Networking, Storage, and Edge Devices with Compact Footprint

Companies, large and small, face surging demand for secure networking, storage, and computing power at the network edge. This is happening worldwide, as global IP traffic is forecasted to grow at a 24 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2016 to 2021.1

This creates opportunities for equipment manufacturers to deliver a variety of new products and solutions, including universal customer premise equipment that drive use cases, such as SD-WAN and a wide variety of virtualized network functions (VNFs).

One high-growth market segment is economical, feature-rich SD-WAN appliances that create a new entry point for managed customer premise services. In order to take advantage of these opportunities, device designers must strike the right balance between the standard constraints around performance, power consumption, form factor, and cost.

Now, it’s possible to deliver impressive performance for different types of workloads in a cost-effective, compact device, using the Intel® Atom™ C3000 processor product family. In addition to high compute performance, the processors are designed to handle networking, security, and storage workloads.

How to Address Growing Infrastructure Demands

There are different approaches for companies to deal with growing data demand. Companies need compact customer premises equipment and more cost-effective network systems.

To address next generation of network service needs, it is more efficient to deploy and operate virtualized, software-defined devices. It is also simpler to deploy services if you work with a common architecture – making it easier to scale across a variety of price and performance points. And since CPE product categories are diverse and competitive, it’s necessary for OEMs to design scalable solutions that can satisfy a wide range of customer requirements.

Small, Powerful SoCs

Now, developers have the Intel Atom® C3000 processor family to optimize their CPE designs. They can choose from more than a dozen system-on-a-chip (SoC) CPUs – with 2 to 16 processing cores – enabling one design to scale across many use cases. With this SOC family, small form factor platforms can be deployed at the edge of the network under stringent space and power constraints.

The SoCs also integrate Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT) to make them suitable to securely run numerous applications in reconfigurable virtual machines. Select SKUs even have on-chip hardware accelerators that significantly speed up data compression and encryption functions.

networking performance improvements

Networking Performance

Entry-level networking devices, like security appliances and virtualized CPE (vCPE) running SD-WAN applications, can benefit from the high IP throughput and computing power of the Intel Atom C3000 processor product family. Secure data transmission performance is enhanced by 10 GbE adapters (up to four) and Intel® QuickAssist Technology (Intel® QAT) that support up to 20 Gbps of cryptography. As a result, IPSec forwarding using a four-core Intel Atom C3000 processor reaches throughput rates up to 24.4 Gbps for 1420 byte packets, up to 3.1 times higher than the two-core predecessor Intel Atom® C2000 processor 5 The high-performance crypto engine on the Intel Atom C3000 processor enables applications, like virtualized firewalls, to be designed with plenty of security performance headroom.

Compute Performance

Compute performance is critically important to communications service providers that are transitioning to a software-defined world and adopting network functions virtualization (NFV) at the edge. Compared to the prior generation, the Intel Atom C3000 processor product family delivers up to 2.3 times more compute performance. This additional headroom provides flexibility to add new applications and adjust to changing service volumes.

Storage Performance

Enterprises have data storage options with various device types, including light scale-out servers entry-level enterprise storage area network (SAN), and cloud cold storage. Success in these market segments requires effective data reduction and data security (through deduplication and encryption). Intel Atom C3000 processor delivers up to four times greater data compression/decompression performance than its predecessors. This advancement satisfies compression performance requirements for entry-level storage appliances.

Virtualization Technology

Communications service providers that are converting from fixed function CPE to vCPE can benefit from Intel VT integrated in Intel Atom C3000 processors. This feature helps enable dynamic provisioning of services, thereby allowing NFV to extend to the network edge. Intel VT can be used to improve application performance, live migration, provisioning, dynamic load balancing, and disaster recovery.

Scalability from Data Center to the Edge

The Intel Atom C3000 processor product family is a major step up in performance and features in its class of processors for networking and storage. It can run the same software and instruction set as both the Intel® Xeon® processor D product family in an SOC form factor and Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors to provide software consistency and simplify deployments from the data center to the network edge. Now, device manufacturers can use a common software base that extends from the data center (or cloud) to the edge.

For more information, visit the Intel Atom® C3000 Processor: Product Brief.

  1. Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2016–2021, June 7, 2017, https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/visual-networking-index-vni/complete-white-paper-c11-481360.html.
  2. Up to 3.4x network performance improvement vs. Intel Atom® C2000 processor. Old: Intel Atom® C2758 on SuperMicro Platform with 4GB total memory on Ubuntu* 12.04 using IPSec Forwarding Performance using AES-128GCM @ 1420B. Data source: Intel Internal Measurement, Score: 7.8 higher is better. New: Intel Atom® C3958 on Harcuvar with 32GB total memory on Ubuntu*16.04.1 LTS x86_64 using IPSec Forwarding Performance using AES-128GCM @ 1420B. Data source: Intel Internal Measurement, Score: 26.58. Higher is better.
  3. Up to 2.3x compute performance improvement vs. Intel Atom® C2000 processor. Old: 1-Node, 1 x Intel Atom® processor C2750 on Edisonville with 32 GB Total Memory on Red Hat Enterprise Linux* 7.0 kernel 3.10.0-123 using (No Software). Data Source: Request Number: 103, Benchmark: SPECint*_rate_base2006, Score: 103 Higher is better. New: 1-Node, 1 x Intel Atom® processor C3955 on Harrisonville with 64GB total memory on Ubuntu* 16.04 LTS Kernel 4.4.0-31-generic using SPECint_rate_base2006. Data Source: Intel Internal Measurement, Score: 246. Higher is better.
  4. Up to 4.0x storage performance improvement vs. Intel Atom® C2000 processor. Old: 1-Node, 1 x Intel Atom® processor C2750 on Mohon Peak with 16GB total memory using ISA-L AES-CBC 256. Data source: Intel Internal Measurement, score 7.73 Cycle/Byte lower is better. New: 1-Node, 1 x Intel Atom® processor C3958 on Ostrich Bay CRB with 32GB total memory using ISA-L AES-CBC 256. Data source: Intel Internal Measurement, score: 1.91 Cycle/Byte. Lower is better.
  5. Intel® Atom® processor C3958 24.4 Gbit/s (only 4C cores used) Intel® Atom® processor C2758 7.8 Gbits/s (only 2 Cores used), Packet Size: 1420 B, Application: DPDK IPSec-GW, Offload: onchip Intel® QuickAssist Technology, Algorithm : AES128-CBC-HMAC-SHA1).
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Dan Rodriguez

About Dan Rodriguez

Daniel C. Rodriguez is vice president in the Network Platforms Group and general manager of the group’s communications infrastructure division at Intel Corporation. He leads strategy for the division’s various market segments and manages Intel’s business in those segments, which include wireless core, cable infrastructure, routers and switches, and network security. Rodriguez and his organization are key contributors to Intel’s network transformation strategy, which focuses on workload convergence on Intel architecture and developing platforms to support network functions virtualization. Before assuming his current role in 2015, he spent four years as wireless infrastructure marketing director expanding that aspect of Intel’s networking business. Rodriguez has also played an influential role in several of Intel’s flagship networking products and technologies, including Intel® QuickAssist Technology and the Intel® Data Plane Development Kit. Rodriguez holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Arizona State University and earned his MBA degree from the University of Southern California.