The Need For Speed
The story behind the X-Lab isn’t just about the race to 10GBASE-T or making sure that when every server or workstation that needs more than one gigabit port, there’s a device able to reliably supply that bandwidth. The X-Lab exists to pave the way for the future of networking. In more than one way, networking scales alongside of CPUs and Moore’s Law. As systems are able to process more data, they need to exchange those greater data loads more quickly in order to maintain real-time functionality. Also consider the role of virtualization in networking. As companies condense five or ten servers into one physical machine, the networking load of those old servers gets jammed into a single box. What might have been 2-4 Gb/s of bandwidth spread across each of ten systems now has to flow in and out of only one, and this requires some fresh infrastructure changes.
Since 1978, Intel has led the industry through multiple speed transitions, from 10 megabit Ethernet through 100 megabit and gigabit Ethernet and now on to 10 gigabit Ethernet (10GbE). The IEEE may be responsible for the creation and supervision of the underlying specifications, but someone has to get their hands dirty and do the years of costly hardware development and validation. A huge chunk of that work gets done by Intel.