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Intel unveils 'Crystal Forest'

Posted: 16 Feb 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:communications platform  networking 

Intel has showcased its next-generation communications platform, codenamed 'Crystal Forest'. "The platform will consolidate packet, application and control processing on Intel architecture for more efficient and secure processing of multimedia content," the company said.

"The demand for increased network performance will continue to grow as more smart devices connect to the Internet every day," said Rose Schooler, general manager, communications infrastructure division, Intel. "And with the popularity of social networking and other high-bandwidth services, such as video and photo uploads/downloads, interactive video, crowdcasting and online gaming, service providers will be challenged to efficiently provision sufficient upstream capacity and manage the spike in network traffic."

Intel's Crystal Forest is expected to deliver up to 160 million packets per second performance for Layer 3 packet forwarding, making it possible to send thousands of high-definition videos across each network node. Previously, only ASIC or specialised processors were capable of sending more than 100 million packets per second.

The Intel Data Plane Development Kit, a set of software libraries and algorithms, improves the performance and throughput of packets on Intel architecture platforms "to yield more than five times the performance over previous generations of Intel platforms."

Crystal Forest will also use Intel QuickAssist technology, which processes and accelerates specialised packet workloads—cryptography, compression and deep packet inspection included—on standard Intel platforms. "Using this technology, secure Internet transactions can be accelerated up to 100Gbps on the platform to give service providers the ability to handle many more secure transactions and without the cost of specialised solutions. The network will also be able to evolve to provide "always-on" secure Internet connections, as opposed to the opt-in connections currently used on select applications or for financial transactions online."

"The new platform will enable equipment manufacturers to design more flexible platforms, from small- to medium-sized business firewalls to high-end routers," the company said. The Intel platform roadmap plans to deliver annual performance refreshes for several years, so equipment manufacturers and service providers will be able to scale and refresh their designs to meet future network needs.

Additionally, Crystal Forest will use a common application programming interface and common drivers so that multiple designs can be implemented quickly and cost-effectively.

Developers can accelerate software development, testing and integration by utilising a simulation model of the Crystal Forest platform provided by Wind River Simics. With Simics, users can model any Crystal Forest target configuration and then run unmodified target software on that model. Wind River Simics enables developers to do BIOS bring-up, operating-system optimisation and application development more efficiently.

The new platform is scheduled to be available later in 2012.





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