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Mellanox ConnectX ENt: A Breakthrough for 10-Gbps LOM

Mellanox this week announced ConnectX ENt, the industry's first single-chip implementation of a dual-port 10GBase-T adapter. This is an important milestone for unified networking as it represents a breakthrough in 10-Gbps Ethernet technology for volume server LAN-on-Motherboard (LOM) -- the technology trend that is going to lead mass adoption of unified networking.

In practical terms, this is a breakthrough because OEM designers and server administrators are waiting for dual-port 10GBase-T controllers and adapters in order to support their data centers full of CAT5 and CAT6 cabling with the lower cost per port, connectivity and redundancy they have come to expect from their dual-port Ethernet, Fibre Channel and InfiniBand adapters.

The deployment of dual-port 10GBase-T controllers and adapters is an important milestone for the industry because unified networks will emerge first with modular blade servers and the highly integrated Mellanox chip technology is the first to meet the requirements for wide adoption in blade servers. This new class of single-chip controller fits nicely onto small blade server mezzanine cards while drawing far less power and cooling than a pair of single port controllers.

The success of ConnectX ENt will have a profound effect on the Mellanox goal of expanding into the Ethernet market -- a goal based on a business model where Mellanox develops leading edge technology while OEMs take the technology to market. First-to-market, the new technology has put Mellanox in a great position to establish early incumbency in the emerging 10 gigabit adapter market by carving a solid foothold in the blade server segment.

However, a wildly successful ConnectX ENt that carves a solid foothold in the blade server segment and early incumbency in the emerging 10 gigabit adapter market is just ante for Mellanox to play in the big game involving a new generation of smaller, lower power 10GBase-T chips that will go directly on volume server motherboards.

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