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NetEffect Nails New Funding

NetEffect, a startup specializing in 10-Gbit/s Ethernet adapters based on the iWarp protocol, has scored $25 million in Series B funding. (See NetEffect Wins New Funding.) The move, bringing NetEffect's total funding to about $47 million, highlights growing interest in the iWarp technique -- interest that isn't, however, backed by implementation.

iWarp (short for Internet wide area RDMA protocol) is a set of protocols designed to run RDMA (remote direct memory access) over IP. By doing this, a computer or storage device can bypass the operating system when data is being transmitted. As a result, iWarp reduces the processing burden encountered when running Ethernet as a high-speed interconnect.

iWarp proponents say their technique increases Ethernet's performance in high-performance computing (HPC) environments, while staying cheaper than Fibre Channel and InfiniBand, since it is (in theory, at least) fully compatible with Ethernet and doesn't require specialized hardware, software, and training.

The reality of iWarp has yet to match the hype. NetEffect is so far the only vendor to offer a prototype product on which a user is available to comment -- albeit not through NetEffect's referral. (More on than in a moment.) NetEffect says its product will be generally available in the third quarter of this year.

Chelsio, which recently received $12 million in funding, and Neterion, which has partnered with IBM, claim to be in preproduction as well, and Chelsio's CEO Kianoosh Naghshineh tentatively puts a timeframe of the first quarter 2007 for official release of his company's product. Neither vendor can provide users for comment. Broadcom, which purchased iWarp vendor Siliquent a year ago, is said to be readying a product for release by the end of 2006, but a vendor spokesman will not comment on the rumor. (See Broadcom Takes 10-Gig Shortcut, LSI Backs Chelsio, and IBM Selects Neterion.)

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