Startup ships quick NIC

Startup Commex Technologies has introduced a network card designed to wring more speed out of multi-core servers. An eight-core server should have double the performance of a four-core server, but that is not always the case, says Ze’ev Rivlin, director of marketing and business development for the Israeli company.

Unveiled late last month, the Vulcan SE HT6210 is a 10GbE network interface card that is being sold with the 32-core HP ProLiant DL785 server through an OEM partnership with HP. It’s also compatible with many other AMD-based servers.

Using deep packet inspection, the Vulcan card analyzes traffic and makes a decision to either send the packet to a particular processing core, drop the packet, send the packet back onto the network or to another server, Rivlin says. The idea is to distribute and balance network data processing among the cores as efficiently as possible.

“Everybody’s trying to make sure they get the most out of the servers they have,” Rivlin says. “Typically they’re looking on a server level. We’re taking it a level deeper, looking at the multiple processing cores in a server. … We want to get data to the place it needs to be processed with the least number of hops.”

Traditional x86 platforms have been designed for single processors, and suffer from some inefficiencies, Rivlin says. Data that comes into a server can hop around to a few different cores unnecessarily, creating more demand on the server, he says.

In addition to the ProLiant, the card can also be used with any AMD server with an HTX slot, which allows use of the HyperTransport Technology chip-to-chip interconnect technology.

The Vulcan card costs US$3,450. Commex plans to sell the card to Internet service providers, as well as network appliance vendors who would use the technology to speed up data processing in the devices they sell to enterprise customers. Potential applications include database transactions, Web caching, IT security, application delivery, bandwidth management, high-traffic Web, financial services, and media streaming, the company says.

Commex’s management team includes CEO Erez Schwartz, who had spent nearly two decades with DSPC, a maker of components and software for the cellular communications market; and vice president of R&D Avraham Ganor, who previously managed silicon development at Genoa Color Technologies, a maker of LCD TV technology.

Commex is part of the RAD Group, a startup incubator composed of 14 independent companies with a common management structure. Commex has funding from Vertex Venture Capital, an Israeli investment firm.

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