IBM Fuels Its Network Flame With New Chips and R&D Center >BY Phil Jones.Two days after exiting network systems manufacturing and selling switch and router technology patents to Cisco Systems, IBM (International Business Machines Corporation, Armonk, NY, www.ibm.com) The world's largest computer company. IBM's product lines include the S/390 mainframes (zSeries), AS/400 midrange business systems (iSeries), RS/6000 workstations and servers (pSeries), Intel-based servers (xSeries) says it still plans to be a supplier of "supreme" network communications technology to the industry, and announced new products and a new Communications Research and Development Center.
Yesterday's statement by the company still leaves unanswered questions about what it has and hasn't sold to Cisco, but it does at least clarify that the company's chip-level babies haven't been thrown out with the systems level bathwater. Indeed, IBM will formally start shipping two key products to OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) The rebranding of equipment and selling it. The term initially referred to the company that made the products (the "original" manufacturer), but eventually became widely used to refer to the organization that buys the products and customers next month, including leading telecoms and data switch manufacturers Alcatel, Newbridge Networks, and Nortel. And by year-end, it will be sampling a another new device, the IBM Processor for Network resources, aimed at the OC-12 (622 Mbps) high-speed interconnect and backbone network edge space, and which it says will be in OEM products by the second half of next year.
The IBM Packet Routing Switch, formerly code-named Prizma, and the IBM Network Processor, formerly Rainier, are the first two products in a range of next-generation network communication components which IBM is determined it will push into the merchant silicon channel ahead of rival products from MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second) The execution speed of a computer. For example, .5 MIPS is 500,000 instructions per second; 100 MIPS is a hundred million instructions per second. and Intel. Apart from their predictably catchy new product names, there is little about the two switch fabrics which the OEM channel will not have heard of, since IBM has been touting them hard since first suggesting that its real networking future lay as OEM supplier at its own Cannes, France Net' 99 Conference last May.
Still, just a day after Intel fleshed out its own comms Shorthand for communications. See telecommunications. silicon road map, IBM wasn't going to miss an opportunity to emphasize what it sees as a yawning gulf between what it will deliver next month, and what the chip giant is still just announcing. The 28.4Gbps Packet Routing Switch, for instance, is now safely ahead of Intel's IXP (1) (Internet EXchange Processor) See IXA.
(2) (Internet eXchange Point) A public junction point on the Internet that provides an on-ramp to the Internet as well as a location for carriers to exchange traffic. 1200 in terms of time to market, and will immediately scale to 500Gbps in-system throughput "with more to come" according IBM wired communications director of marketing, Steve Longoria.
This should be enough to at least match early IXP iterations in terms of bandwidth, while the complementary IBM Network Processor will match its 10 embedded and C programmable RISC RISC
in full Reduced Instruction Set Computing
Computer architecture that uses a limited number of instructions. RISC became popular in microprocessors in the 1980s. "pico processors" against the six RISC cores of the IXP. This should make it difficult for Intel to suggest that the cornerstone of its emerging Internet Exchange Architecture Internet Exchange Architecture (acronym: IXA) is a chip set and framework produced by Intel Corporation used by manufacturers to design customised network processors. Introduced in 1999, the first model was based on the StrongARM processor. will be any more flexible or dynamically re-configurable than its IBM counterpart. Nevertheless, the match-up between Big Blue and Intel in the internet infrastructure technology market is likely to be bloody and protracted pro·tract
tr.v. pro·tract·ed, pro·tract·ing, pro·tracts
1. To draw out or lengthen in time; prolong: disputants who needlessly protracted the negotiations.
IBM's Longoria argues that IBM already has a lead, and possesses enough leading edge technology to keep it, pointing to his company's expertise in "silicon on insulator See SOI. , silicon germanium and other tremendous technologies that our competitors simply don't have." The forward development of these technologies and others will now be driven by the new IBM Communications Research and Development Center, which is essentially an umbrella construct designed to concentrate comms related hardware and software technology expertise from across IBM's R&D centers in Haifa, Israel, and the New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of and Yorktown Heights and Raleigh Triangle facilities in the US, and its Swiss laboratories in Zurich. IBM could not supply a figure for the number of comms researchers gathered under this new umbrella, but it is unlikely to be matched by too many other organizations outside of the Bell Laboratories resource of Lucent Technologies.