New computer services tend to take advantage of the latest
processing and storage resources. A new hard drive may give you ten
times the storage capacity, but you may still find it half full only
one year after the initial purchase. This is also when you find the
PC’s dual core processor running at 2.1 GHz is under constant heavy
load. Is this a rule by nature? It quite possibly could be.
The Network Processor (NPU) industry is no different. A new
generation comes with significant more processing power, and still our
customers ask for more. There are more standards coming down the road,
and there are more features requested by service providers around the
world. Demand is always more, never less.
At the recent Linley tech seminar Xelerated’s Vice President of Business Development, Thomas Eklund, delivered a presentation – available for download on Slideshare
– on the importance of service density in the NPU business. If your
processing device can’t manage all the network services expected, then
you will find your Research & Development department under hard
stress to balance features and performance against available resources.
The need for greater service density is an important aspect for the
whole service provider industry. If next generation routers and
switching platforms can be built with greater headroom for new
services, we can extend the lifetime of the equipment, and thereby
strengthen the business case for the broadband services.
Service density can be a bit hard to measure, but doing some very
basic calculations on the raw service processing capabilities of a
particular chip is fairly straightforward and this will give you a
rough idea on the capabilities of the chip. Failing to do this in an
evaluation process for a new line card design often leads to unhappy
surprises at a very late stage in the project. In turn this results in
risk of missing an important market window, as well as signficantly
increased engineering and product costs. So take a look and find out –
how much service density is your chip providing?