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Merge Enterprise Routing, Network Services on Intel® Architecture

Merge Enterprise Routing, Network Services on Intel® Architecture

Yesterday’s routers are typically optimized for high packet throughput, often at the expense of flexibility. But in the enterprise space, there is a need to expand the functionality of routers to include security, voice, video, and other functions, blurring the line between routers and network appliances. IT professionals and Internet service providers (ISPs) are trying to keep pace with changing network requirements by supporting more sophisticated functionality and services. However, implementing new functions on mixed architecture systems often requires costly add-in hardware. Conversely, a single architecture—Intel® architecture—allows these requirements to be met with software-based networking components (i.e., routing, firewall, VPN, and IPS) that are highly adaptable and capable of running nearly any workload, allowing enterprises to easily incorporate new features, services, and applications.

A software-based networking component can be based on off-the-shelf, general-purpose server processors that for many classes of routers have closed the performance gap relative to network requirements. Technological advances, per Moore’s Law, are producing impressive performance improvements, evidenced by the Intel® Xeon® processor E5645 (circa Q1’2010) delivering over ten times greater L3 IP forwarding throughput than its predecessor that launched just two years earlier. Furthermore, developers can differentiate their product offerings by leveraging complementary technologies from the server industry, like virtualization, power management, and security.

This paper describes the benefits enterprises can derive from software-based networking components with respect to flexibility, scalability, and low overall cost. Various usage models are discussed, some of which are made possible through the use of advanced Intel® technologies. Routing performance benchmarks of an Intel®-based HP* server, running example technologies and use cases from software networking vendor Vyatta*, are also presented.

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