Sunny S2io Supports Solaris

S2io Technologies announces Solaris drivers for its 10-Gigabit Ethernet adapters

August 24, 2004

2 Min Read
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Enterprises of tomorrow are going to need a whole lot more network bandwidth than they do today, and startup S2io Technologies Corp. is banking on providing the interface cards.

Right now only S2io, fellow startup Chelsio Communications Inc., and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) are making the 10-Gigabit Ethernet adapters, but how long the startups can hold their own remains to be seen. In S2io's case, it has some recent momentum including a reseller deal with Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) (NYSE: SGI) and an impressive $42 million third round of venture capital funding, and yesterday the company announced software drivers for Sun Microsystems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: SUNW) forthcoming Solaris 10 operating system.

The company was founded on the premise that there's going to be "a discontinuity in the data center," with application and user demands on one side, and limited bandwidth supply on the other, according to Dave Zabrowski, president and CEO. The deal with Sun isn't exclusive, but Sun isn't working with anyone else at the moment, he says.

The big difference between 10-Gigabit cards and standard 10, 100, and 1,000BaseT cards is the software challenge. Gigabit speed - 1,000BaseT –- is the last speed at which firmware could be on the card itself, Zabrowski says. At the new 10-Gig speeds, the cards require special-purpose hardware in the form of an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC).

"We have designed a very specific technology that's tuned with the server vendors we partner with," Zabrowski says. Intel obviously has those relationships too, but Zabrowski says S2io's advantage is its focus on this technology exclusively.Citing competitive fears, Zabrowski declined to say how many employees he has, when profitability will occur, and what his future product roadmap holds. He did note that drivers are being prepared for Hewlett-Packard Co.'s (NYSE: HPQ) HP-UX and IBM Corp.'s (NYSE: IBM) AIX operating systems, and that additional OEM announcements will come in October -- so curious reporters and readers can make intelligent guesses at which OEMs are coming up.

Also, S2io has an IPO in its sights, he says, hopefully in late 2005 or early 2006. "We certainly expect there to be more than 10 competitors," he says.

Of course, one card doesn't a network make. "To need that kind of speed, you've got to have processes that can handle it," or you risk simply moving the data bottleneck to a different spot, says Neil Mckeeman, owner of Network Consultants Inc. in Chapel Hill, N.C. Some customers already bind together multiple 1-Gigabit connections to achieve an aggregate of 2 of 4 Gigabits, but that's expensive, Mckeeman says.

— Evan Koblentz, Senior Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum

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