Start-up lands 10GigE deals with IBM, HP

NetXen, builder of high-speed network processors and network cards, wins two major server accounts.

A Silicon Valley start-up building next-generation networking equipment has won two significant server customers, IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

NetXen builds network processors and network cards that send data at 10 gigabits per second over conventional Ethernet networks, 10 times faster than typical server network equipment today. While not the only competitor in the market--IBM already is a Neterion customer, for example--NetXen argues its products are cheaper and can detect different classes of networking traffic for appropriate handling.

The products will be used in HP's ProLiant and BladeSystem servers and IBM's BladeCenter H. And though NetXen can't yet call Dell a customer, Dell has endorsed NetXen's approach. "We certainly hope they will be (a customer). We're not far enough along to stand up and say that," said NetXen President David Pulling.

Products will reach the market soon, he said. "We're going through final throes of OEM (original equipment manufacturer) qualifications. You'll see OEMs shipping soon--within a small number of months," Pulling said.

Standalone network cards with single or dual ports will cost about $600, Pulling said.

NetXen, based in Santa Clara, Calif., with offices in Pune, India, was founded in 2002 by chip designer Govind Kizhepat and has 75 employees. The company has had three rounds of funding; investors include Accel Partners, Benchmark Capital and Integral Capital.

The 10-gigabit Ethernet standard today requires fiber-optic networks, but work is under way to bring it to conventional copper cables, Pulling said. In particular, a standards group is creating a "short-haul" version for cables measuring a maximum of 30 meters to 40 meters, significantly shorter and easier to handle than the conventional 100-meter Ethernet limit.

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