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Network accelerators come with Linux drivers

Sep 17, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 122 views

Cavium Networks has launched two families of Linux-friendly network accelerator cards. The lower-end Nitrox PX XL PCI-Express cards target security appliances, storage equipment, and service-provider infrastructure, while the higher-end Octeon XL NICPro2 PCI-X cards target L4-L7 switches, session border… controllers, and ad-insertion appliances, among other applications.

Cavium is best known for its single-core Nitrox and multi-core Octeon network processors. Cavium chips are based on MIPS64 cores, and typically integrate an assortment of peripherals aimed at packet processing and network speed-up.

The new Nitrox and Octeon accelerator cards are based, respectively, on Nitrox and Octeon processors.

The Nitrox PX XL PCI-Express card family includes four- and eight-lane PCI-Express cards powered by up to four Nitrox CN1620 processors. They are available with Linux, BSD, and OS-independent drivers, and offer APIs for IPsec, SSL, and storage-oriented crypto processing. They are claimed to offer the fastest SSL and IPsec performance of any single PCI Express card.

The Octeon XL NICPro2 cards support Octeon processors with up to 16 MIPS64 cores, 8GB of DDR2 RAM, and four gigabit Ethernet ports. SPI (serial packet interface) 4.2 connectors are said to enable multi-card cascading without using the PCI-X bus. The cards come with a “portable PCI-X driver with standard Linux support,” and C-language APIs for compression/decompression, SSL, TCP, pattern matching, and crypto processing.

Cavium last spring launched a similar line of Octeon XL Pro cards. They came with a MontaVista Linux BSP, and offered throughputs from 500Mbps to 6Gbps, according to the company.


The Nitrox PX XL NHB4 is sampling now, priced at $1,250 in 100-unit quantities. The Cavium OCTEON XL NICPro2 will sample in October, priced at $1,500 in 1K quantities.

Cavium is demonstrating the cards at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) this week in Santa Clara, Calif.

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