The Intel Ethernet 10GbE revolution that was 12 years in the making

Intel has been advancing its strategy to embed Intel® Ethernet into System-on-a-chip (SoC) designs and products that will enable exciting new applications. To enable these SoCs, the Networking Division has been developing Ethernet IP blocks based on our market-leading 10GbE controller.

Last month, we had one of our biggest successes to date with the launch of the Intel® Xeon® processor D product family. The Xeon D, as it is known, is the first SoC from Intel that combines the power of a Xeon processor and the performance of Intel 10GbE - in a single chip.

In one sense, the integration of this IP into the Xeon chip was very fast – taking only one year from concept to tape in. But you could also say that the revolution was 12 years in the making because that’s how long Intel has been delivering 10GbE technology and perfecting the performance, features, drivers and software that the customers trust.

In fact, I like to say that this device has a trifecta of reliability advantages: • Proven Xeon performance • Proven Intel Ethernet • Intel leading edge manufacturing process

The Xeon D is developed for applications that will make the most use of this trifecta: emerging micro servers, wireless base stations, routers and switches, security and network appliances, as well as the build-out of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). The opportunities are endless.

These applications make use of the high performance and tight integration between the processor and integrated network controller. And all of them have an ongoing need for components that reduce cost, shrink system footprint and reduce power consumption, both in the data center and at the network edge.

The road to the Xeon D SoC

While Xeon D is certainly a highlight of our Ethernet IP strategy, it’s not the first successful SoC integration of Intel® Ethernet.

Our first announced venture in this area was with the Intel Atom® C2000 processor family that is targeted at networking and communications devices and emerging microservers and storage devices. These processors include four ports of Gigabit Ethernet that can also support up to 2.5GbE for backplane implementations, for up to 10GbE of total throughput.

It’s great to see Intel® Ethernet play such a big role in a significant product like the Xeon D.  The combination of our proven Ethernet with the performance of a Xeon CPU offers our customers a tremendous value, and will open up new and exciting applications.