Neterion has announced a new 10Gbit Ethernet series of adapters that it claimed can enhance the I/O performance of virtual machines.

According to the vendor, its new series of dual-port X3100 adapters deliver line-rate throughput and low latencies via a new PCIe x8 system interface, and support all major operating systems, hypervisors and server architectures. It protects internal and external memories with single error correction, double error detection ECC memory, said the company. This means datacentre managers get more performance while reducing acquisition costs by up to 20 percent, reckoned the vendor.

Neterion said the X3100 series is integrated with VMware's ESX Server 3.5 and provides native support for NetQueue, a VMware performance technology that improves performance in 10Gbit Ethernet virtualised environments. The company also claimed that its products are the industry's only 10GbE adapters that provide four modes of virtualisation operation that feature 17 hardware-based, independent bi-directional paths allowing traffic to be classified, prioritised, and queued at line rate speeds, which helps enable QoS capabilities. The product's multiple virtual paths can be load balanced and reset, said Neterion.

The X3100's use of hardware-based offloads helps reduce memory bus usage, offloading many hypervisor tasks from the host to the adapter. The benefit, said Neterion, is that virtualised applications can achieve performance levels previously experienced only on servers running in non-virtualised OS modes. This allows even I/O intensive applications to realise the benefits of virtualisation without compromising performance, reckoned the company.

Neterion further claimed that the adapters are the first to support the PCI-SIG workgroup's pre-standards extensions to PCIe, namely single-root and multi-root I/O virtualisation, which allow one adapter to behave like multiple physical adapters in a virtualised server.

"I think it was quite visionary that from their very first product in 2001, Neterion has designed in multi-channel functionality at the I/O level in order to support virtualisation," said Bob Wheeler, senior analyst at the Linley Group. "These new X3100 Series Adapters featuring 17 hardware independent lanes of multi-channel support should enable Neterion to play a significant role in how virtualisation is deployed in enterprise datacentres."

"Many network intensive tasks, such as VMware's VMotion, require a large network pipe to allow the nearly instantaneous migration of virtualised applications," said Dave Zabrowski, president and CEO of Neterion. "By offloading many of the Hypervisor tasks from host to the X3100 10GbE adapters, virtualised applications on VMs can achieve over four times the performance levels of virtualised servers without the offload features."

"The products and services we provide our customers are highly transactional in nature and require that we maximise performance in our datacentre while remaining cost effective," stated Dave Malcolm, vice president of engineering at Surgient, a developer of simulation software.

"By running VMware's ESX 3.5 server in conjunction with Neterion 10 Gig Ethernet adapters and its I/O virtualisation capabilities, we now have VMs running at over 80 percent utilisation levels as opposed to single servers running at 15 percent levels or less. And with the 10 Gbit/s line rate performance, we have eliminated the I/O bottlenecks for server-to-server and server-to-storage networking applications."