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The Network Appliance Platform: More Than a Carrier-Grade Server
Simon Stanley | Analyst
Increasing processor performance and virtualized network architectures are opening up new opportunities for rackmount appliance platforms.

These rackmount appliance platforms will be a key enabler for deployment of SDN and NFV in operator networks.
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Rackmount Appliance Platforms Accelerate SDN/NFV
Increasing processor performance and virtualized network architectures are opening up new opportunities for rackmount appliance platforms. Service providers are finding they can replace fixed function network appliances with virtualized network functions (VNFs) running on rackmount appliance platforms and carrier grade servers. In some cases an $80,000 network appliance can be replaced by a 2U rackmount appliance platform and third-party software at a significantly lower cost. Rackmount appliance platforms can also be used to replace large and relatively expensive chassis-based systems that used previous generations of processors.

Network appliance platforms are being used for a wide range of networking applications, including security, media gateways, wide area network (WAN) optimization, load balancing and Open vSwitch (OVS). Network appliance platforms and carrier grade servers can also be used more widely in software-defined networking (SDN)-based data centers and virtualized network solutions based on network functions virtualization (NFV).

Rackmount appliance platforms provide an ideal solution for medium scale SDN and NFV implementations. The blend of high performance server class processors, packet processing acceleration, storage and high speed networking interfaces delivers performance previously expected from much larger systems. The use of standard server processors, acceleration software and hardware designed to work with standard operating systems and VNFs, means there is no development downside to using rackmount appliance platforms rather than standard enterprise grade or carrier grade servers.

The next generation of rackmount appliance platforms will support a significantly greater number of 10GE, 40GE and 100GE interfaces. These next generation platforms will also need to provide more advanced packet processing acceleration. To keep the cost of these platforms under control the packet processing acceleration will need to be integrated into the main system processors. These could either be the future Intel Xeon D or one of the ARMv8 based processors that already have advanced packet processing acceleration. These developments will further enhance the value of rackmount appliance platforms.

Rackmount Appliance Platforms Accelerate SDN/NFV details and analyzes rackmount appliance platforms, carrier grade servers and software solutions from 15 leading vendors in this important market. The report profiles the vendors and reviews specific platform architectures, identifying the key features and highlighting the advantages they hold for system developers and service providers.

Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpts below:
Table of Contents (cci0115_toc.pdf)
The following excerpt shows the main x86 and ARM-based processors that are suitable for high performance rackmount appliance platforms and carrier grade servers. There are three generations of Intel Xeon E5 processors: Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge and Haswell. The latest Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 (Haswell) processors that fit within the typical rackmount appliance platform power envelope of 135W per processor integrate 12 Xeon cores running at up to 2.6 GHz (3.5GHz Turbo). Xeon E5-2600 processors support dual processor configurations; Xeon E5-4600 processors support quad processor configurations.
[click on the image above for the full excerpt]
Companies profiled in this report include: 6Wind S.A.; Adlink Technology Inc. (TAIEX: 6166); Advantech Co. Ltd. (TPE: 2395); Artesyn Embedded Technologies; Dell Inc.; Enea AB (Nasdaq: ENEA); Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ); Kontron AG (FWB: KBC); Lanner Electronics Inc. (Taiwan: 6245.TW); Portwell Inc. (Taiwan: 6105.TW); Radisys Corp. (Nasdaq: RSYS); Unicom Engineering Inc., a division of Unicom Global; WIN Enterprises Inc.; Wind River Systems Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC); and ZNYX Networks Inc.
Total pages: 20
OCTOBER 2014
Equipment Vendors Rate Multicore Processors & Suppliers
This report analyzes the current and projected use of multicore processors by telecom and networking equipment manufacturers, based on the results of an exclusive worldwide survey. The responses to our survey make it clear that these devices are critical components in most types of networking equipment, from the access edge to the core of the network.
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Including table of contents, executive summary, and financial metrics
OCTOBER 2014
Low Power Micro Server & Network Appliance Processors
This report details and analyzes processor architectures and low-power processors for micro servers and network appliances from eight leading vendors, identifying the key requirements and highlighting the advantages they hold for equipment manufacturers and service providers. The report also reviews vendor strategies and surveys component features, performance and flexibility in this important market.
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Including table of contents, executive summary, and financial metrics
JUNE 2014
COTS & ATCA: 2014 User Survey
This report analyzes the use of COTS platforms by telecom equipment vendors, with a focus on ATCA, based on the results of an exclusive worldwide survey. The survey results show that these platforms are widely used in many types of networking equipment, from the access edge to the network core.
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Including table of contents, executive summary, and financial metrics
ANALYST
Simon Stanley
Simon writes the Components Insider , covering the latest developments in telecom silicon and subsystems.
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Simon Stanley
CONTACT AUTHOR
ANALYST
Tim Kridel
Tim writes for both Mobile Networks Insider and Cable Industry Insider. He has previously covered the wireless and cable industries for a number of research firms, including Heavy Reading.
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Tim Kridel
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CONTRIBUTING ANALYST
Simon Sherrington
Simon is an independent consultant who contributes regularly to Heavy Reading Insider. He has 13 years of experience analyzing, reporting, and consulting on technology market trends.
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Simon Sherrington
CONTACT AUTHOR
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