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Tricord joins ATM craze

Struggling server maker Tricord latches on to the ATM craze with a high-speed ATM network interface.

Struggling server maker Tricord Systems (TRCD) has latched on to the Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) craze with a high-speed ATM network interface.

The ATM Powerlink is result of a two-year old technology partnership with ATM switching provider Fore Systems (FORE). It offers a direct link to the system bus of all Tricord PowerFrame Enterprise servers, bypassing Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI)-based network interface cards.

"We've eliminated the inefficiencies you get with the PCI adapters," said Craig Westover, Tricord's director of marketing communications.

The result is up to twice the throughput for ATM networks. Previously, ATM could speed information around the network until it reached the bottleneck: a server, according to Kim Anderson, director of channel marketing at Tricord.

ATM-based networks are generally in their pilot stages, with analysts expecting widespread deployment in the coming year for data-intensive applications, for example. Tricord executives said they typically see their servers in Ethernet or Fast Ethernet-based networks, but hope to gain business by offering an optimum server for ATM nets.

Tricord specializes in providing high-powered symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) superservers that can process data at high speeds. "It only makes sense to ramp up the network side of it as well," Anderson noted.

The ATM PowerLink Network Interface Card (NIC) includes a multithreaded driver for SMP operating systems and applications. The card offloads processing power from the main CPU's via a Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) microprocessor on the adapter, eliminating ATM network slowdowns.

Tricord executives said they would only offer the ATM PowerLink technology on Tricord servers. "We aren't in the NIC business," Anderson said.