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Network appliance runs Linux on multi-core MIPS64 NPU

Mar 1, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 12 views

Taiwanese board- and system-builder Lanner Electronics is sampling a 2U network appliance that supports Cavium's interesting multi-core MIPS64-compatible network processing units (NPUs). The MR-950 runs Linux, and targets devices running multi-service security applications, such as UTM (unified threat management) appliances.

(Click for larger view of Lanner MR-950)

Touted features and specs of Lanner's MR-950 appliance include:

  • 2 x 240-pin DIMM sockets supporting a total of up to 4GB of dual-channel DDR2 RAM clocked at 533 or 667MHz
  • 3 X 3.5-inch drive bays
  • 4 x SATA ports
  • CompactFlash socket
  • 2 PCI-bus GbE ports
  • 3 x GbE/Fibre combo ports
  • 2 x USB 2.0 ports
  • DB9 RS-232 ports
  • PCI-X slot
  • Redundant 350W power supplies

Additionally, the MR-950 supports the “full range” of Cavium's CN38xx and CN58xx multi-core NPUs, including models with four-to-16 MIPS64 software compatible cores, according to Lanner. The high-end CN58xx NPUs are aimed at full-duplex throughputs up to 10Gbps, with low power and space envelopes, while the less expensive CN38xx parts are good up for throughputs up to 2Gbps, Cavium claims.

Cavium's Octeon EXP architecture, on which the CN38xx and CN58xx are based
(Click to enlarge)

Cavium began sampling its multicore Octeon line of network services processors in early 2005, saying the chips were meant for application level (OSI Layers 3 to 7) content and security processing at wire speeds. The Octeon architecture integrates multiple MIPS64-compatible cores and a wealth of on-chip packet and crypto processing engines, together with a 640Gbps low-latency interconnect.

Soon after sampling its first Octeon models, Cavium signed up MontaVista to offer commercial Linux support for them.


Lanner Electronics says its MR-950 is available in evaluation samples, with mass production scheduled for the end of the quarter. The device is validated with MontaVista Linux and with Wind River VxWorks. Pricing was not disclosed.

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