IBM Adds Muscle To PowerNP Network Processor Initiatives

Combination Of Software, Support And Hardware Announced To Speed Designs

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EAST FISHKILL, N.Y. - 22 Oct 2001: IBM today unveiled several new initiatives that can help developers of networking products based on IBM's PowerNP network processor reduce costs and bring their solutions to market faster.

As part of these initiatives, IBM is:

With this announcement, IBM is bringing its system expertise to bear, providing networking OEM customers with a comprehensive set of hardware, software and support offerings to simplify system development.

"IBM is tackling the issue of network processor programmability head-on, helping original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) more easily take advantage of standard silicon components, while still providing unique features to help differentiate from the competition," said Dr. Armando Garcia, vice president of network processing, IBM Microelectronics.

IBM is working with third party developers to cover the entire spectrum of IBM PowerNP network processor needs: operating systems, networking systems software applications and middleware. One of the companies benefiting from IBM's network processor initiatives and PartnerWorld for Developers is Wind River Systems, Inc. of Alameda, Calif., a leading provider of software and services for connected smart devices.

"Leveraging IBM's developer programs has helped us optimize Wind River's Tornado for Managed Switches software to run on IBM's PowerNP NP4GS3 network processor," said Gayle Semrad, director of corporate marketing, Wind River Systems.

The enhanced IBM Developer's Toolkit for the IBM PowerNP NP4GS3, Version 2.3, will now be offered -- at no charge -- to qualified members of IBM PartnerWorld for Developers. The toolkit adds several new features to help code, debug and test for next-generation PowerNP NP4GS3 network processor applications before final hardware even exists. It is supported on a variety of operating systems, including Windows, Solaris and Linux.

IBM also has enhanced the PowerNP NP4GS3 software stack with its Advanced Software Offering. Designed to deliver extensive network protocol support and functionality, Version 1.3, provides a choice of Linux and VxWorks operating environments. Additionally, Inter-VLAN routing is now offered in this release.

Complementing this software offering, IBM is upgrading the reference platform to utilize the new NP4GS3 and add support for the Packet-over-SONET OC-48 interface line card. Mainstream campus and wide area network (WAN) or Internet service providers now have the foundation for deploying system applications. This offering's code also is tailored to provide the software link between the technology and the user's system applications, such as Firewall or Edge Routing.

Beyond these general system enhancements, IBM also improved the IBM PowerNP NP4GS3 processor and the processor picocode. The processor now offers Semaphore Manager, permitting multiple threads to access common resources; increased table update capability; expanded instruction memory and other performance-related enhancements such as improvements to dispatch unit, memory configuration and packet processing. One of the key improvements for maintaining line speed packet processing is the processor's enhanced tree structure flexibility and search performance, translating into greater throughput.

The company also announced the availability of samples for its family of highly-integrated, low-end network processors which are powered by IBM's industry leading PowerPC 405 embedded core. These products, known as the NPe405L and NPe405H, are available in 200 and 266 MHz speeds and are targeted for high performance edge and access applications. This chip family was developed with low-power consumption and high performance in mind and is ideal for thermal sensitive applications.

Cahners In-Stat Group, a firm that tracks the market for network processors, recently estimated revenue could grow in the network processor segment from last year's $135 million or so worldwide to more than $7 billion by 2005. Including ancillary chips to these processors, potential revenues could double, the firm predicted.