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IBM Journal of Research and Development

Network-Optimized Computing   Abstract
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Exploiting heterogeneous multi-core processor systems for high-performance network processing

by H. Franke,
T. Nelms,
H. Yu,
H. D. Achilles,
and R. Salz
In this paper, we examine two network-processing appliances, i.e., the IBM ProventiaA Network Intrusion Prevention System and the IBM WebSphere® DataPower® service-oriented architecture appliance, and the specific requirements they pose on emerging heterogeneous multicore-processor systems. We first describe the function and architecture of these applications. Next, we describe the computational requirements imposed on the applications as a result of the expectation that they operate at the maximum transmission rate on high-speed networks (i.e., on networks at speeds greater than 10 Gb/s) with minimal latency. Given that next-generation systems will provide on-chip and off-chip hardware acceleration functions, we identify and quantify the functions that can be offloaded onto hardware accelerators to provide latency reduction by more efficient execution, increased concurrence, or both. Referring to models of specific hardware accelerators, we estimate and quantify the impact on the performance of the applications. We conclude with a discussion of the modifications to these applications that are required to exploit the large number of hardware threads and accelerators available on emerging multicore-processor systems.

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