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Vendors are expanding on the 10 Gigabit Ethernet offerings available to customers.

Myricom Inc. and startup Level 5 Networks Inc. on Monday are both introducing new offerings designed to bring the high-speed interconnect into the data center and high-performance computing environments.

In addition, Neterion Inc., which makes 10GbE adapters, earlier this month unveiled a channel strategy that it hopes will fuel demand for its products.

Myricom, of Arcadia, Calif., on Monday is releasing new switches and NICs (network interface cards) that CEO Chuck Seitz said bring “the convergence of 10GB Myrinet and 10G Ethernet.”

The fourth generation of Myrinet, called Mryi-10G, will be available in September, Seitz said. The 11-year-old Myrinet interconnect is widely used in the HPC (high-performance computing) field. Ethernet, which has been around for almost three decades, is found in most enterprise data centers. Converging the two interconnect technologies brings together Myrinet’s HPC techniques into the enterprise, he said.

Myri-10G switches offer between 16 and 128 ports in single enclosures, with prices as low as $400 per port. The NICs can work with 10GbE or 10G Myrinet switches. In addition, 10G Myrinet switch fabrics will be able to be connected to 10GbE networks and storage environments via protocol-conversion devices.

Seitz said the convergence of the two interconnect technologies makes sense for end users.

“Myrinet can do everything that Ethernet can do,” Seitz said. “But the way it works internally [is different]. … It’s gradually becoming more and more Ethernet-like.”

Myricom is targeting Myri-10G at compute clusters, grids and data centers.

For its part, Level 5 Networks, of Sunnyvale, Calif., is announcing EtherFabric, a combination of software and silicon that CEO Dan Karr said will increase application performance and bandwidth capabilities in HPC environments and data centers while reducing latency by as much as five times over conventional Ethernet offerings. It more than doubles the efficiency of CPUs in the environment, which will result in better performance.

A key to EtherFabric is backward compatibility with existing Ethernet environments, requiring no new protocols or application modifications.

“Nothing changes at all [when implementing EtherFabric],” Karr said. “The same binary [code] comes over and it just works. There are no changes to the applications, operating systems [or] protocols.”

EtherFabric is available this month for 1Gb Ethernet environments, and it will support 10GbE in the first half of 2006. It also supports PCI and PCI-X now and will support PCI-Express by the end of this year.

Neterion, of Cupertino, Calif., this month kicked off a VAR and systems integrator program to help push sales of its suite of 10 GbE Xframe adapters. Tracy Crowe, director of market development and alliances for Neterion, said the program will broaden the company’s distribution points to include both OEMs and channel partners.

Currently such OEMs as Hewlett-Packard Co., Sun Microsystems Inc., Silicon Graphics Inc. and Cray Inc. have signed up to use Neterion technology. Crowe said the goal of the new channel program is not only to fuel sales but also to educate the market about the benefits of 10GbE. Analyst firm IDC says 10GbE technology should surpass sales of 1GbE products by 2007.

Neterion’s channel program will include a partner Web site that will offer an information portal, technical data and updates, Crowe said. There also will be dedicated support and training for channel partners, a starter kit that includes evaluation units and tools, and lead generation help, he said.

“Our goal is to build the ecosystem and working with ISVs and system integrators as part of the system,” Crowe said.

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