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Intel Acquires Ethernet Tech Maker NetEffect

NetEffect's products include 1-Gb and 10-Gb Ethernet adapters for servers and blade configurations.

Intel on Wednesday said it has acquired NetEffect, a maker of Ethernet products and technologies for server computing clusters, for $8 million in cash.

In buying NetEffect, Intel gets the company's products incorporating iWarp, an Ethernet alternative to InifiniBand, which is a switched fabric communications link used mostly in high-performance computing. NetEffect's product portfolio includes 1-Gb and 10-Gb Ethernet adapters for servers and blade configurations, as well as 10-GbE application-specific integrated circuits.

Intel said NetEffect's technology complements the chipmaker's portfolio of 10-GbE server adapters, which include single- and dual-port versions for copper and fiber implementations.

"The combination of Intel and NetEffect technology will allow Intel to address our customers' most important 10 Gigabit Ethernet needs, including server virtualization, convergence of network and storage traffic, and server compute clusters," Tom Swinford, general manager of Intel's LAN Access Division, said in a statement.

NetEffect was founded in 1998 as Banderacom, which focused on InfiniBand adapters and 16-port IB switches. The Austin, Texas, company became NetEffect in 2004 and currently has 30 employees, primarily engineers. NetEffect workers will continue to be based in Austin.

The area of focus for Intel's 10-GbE technology is server virtualization, which requires a storage area network or network-attached storage to separate workloads from data. Without virtual storage, and the network technology such as Ethernet, Fibre Channel, or InfiniBand to move data, the flexibility inherent in virtualization is reduced as data must be moved or replicated whenever a virtual machine is set up or torn down. Decoupling storage from processing makes it easier for workloads to be moved around.

In May, Intel introduced a network interface card that delivers 10-GbE performance over standard copper cables, making it possible for companies to take advantage of higher data flows without installing expensive fiber optics. The NIC supports both 1-GbE and 10-GbE operations, so companies can use the device during a gradual upgrade of a network to the higher speed.

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