Broadcom this week announced a 10GbE converged (TCP, iSCSI, FCoE, RDMA) controller that the company claims can exceed two million I/Os per second (IOPS). The BCM578X0 chip family is designed for converged network adapters and LAN-On-Motherboard (LOM) implementations.

“It’s the first quad-port, fully converged 10GbE controller, and it can perform at full line rate on all four ports, or 40Gbps bidirectionally,” claims Robert Lusinsky, director of product marketing in Broadcom’s Ethernet Controller Group.

One caveat: Although Broadcom is currently sampling the chip to OEMs, and claims to have some design wins with Tier-1 vendors, production shipments of the chip aren’t expected until the third quarter of 2011.

Broadcom cites Intel, Emulex and QLogic as its primary competitors in the 10GbE converged networking space. Lusinsky says that Broadcom’s key differentiators vs. some of its competitors are port count, chip size and performance.

To date, the highest performance claims in the converged adapter market have been around one million IOPS.

As always, however, performance claims should be taken with a grain – or large block – of salt, and they depend on a wide variety of factors, including CPU utilization.

For server vendors needing to cram more and more chips on their motherboards, Broadcom points to the size of the BCM5784X0 chip: four ports on a 23mmx23mm (0.82 square inches) device. That compares, for example, to Intel’s dual-port 25mmx25mm 82599 processor.

Broadcom’s converged controllers are available in three configurations: the dual-port BCM57800 and BCM57810, and the four-port BCM57840.

Other features of Broadcom’s 40-nanometer converged controller include support for PCIe 3.0, Energy Efficient Ethernet, and virtualization technologies such as SR-IOV, NIC partitioning and Virtual Embedded Bridge (VEB). The chips provide full hardware offload for iSCSI, FCoE, TCP and RDMA.

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