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Level 5 Hooks Up With Foundry

Startup joins HPC alliance, but sees itself as network server play

Level 5 Networks received a measure of validation for its EtherFabric network interface card today when it became a partner in Foundry Networks Inc.'s (Nasdaq: FDRY) HPC Ethernet Alliance Program. But the startup is looking to avoid getting pigeon-holed as a high-performance computing play (see Level 5, Foundry in Alliance).

EtherFabric is sold as a two-port, 1-Gbit/s PCI adapter for use in Linux-based blade servers, Web servers, clusters, and storage devices (see Level 5 Networks). It removes TCP/IP processing from the operating system kernel and puts it in the application via use of a special runtime library.

Foundry works with companies in its alliance program to insure interoperability with its Ethernet switches, and co-markets its partners products. The other partners in Foundry's alliance are also startups with high-speed interconnections -- Ammasso Inc., Chelsio Communications Inc., and Neterion Inc.

Level 5 is also part of the High Performance and Technical Computing (HPTC) Alliance sponsored by Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW).

Like other high-speed interconnection vendors, Level 5 is sensitive to being typecast as an HPC solution. It appears torn between this sentiment and delight over getting into Foundry's channels. “We expected to start in high-performance computing because customers are very sensitive to the interconnect there, but we expect the adoption to be very broad across network servers,” says marketing VP Dana Krelle. “We would hope you would see us in those product lines no later than next year.”

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