Network appliances are replacing separate network security and switching systems. The latest network appliances integrate Intel® Xeon® processor E3-1200 v3, with acceleration for security and other networking applications in a 1U chassis. These are highly scalable systems with support for up to 24 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and options for alternative interfaces and hardware acceleration. Enterprise network managers now have new opportunities to deploy a single network appliance in applications that previously required several systems.


In this blog I am going to explore the benefits of using Intel Xeon processors E3-1200 v3 and Intel® C220 Series Chipset in scalable network appliances. For this blog I am using implementation examples from Portwell, a Premier member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance, Associate member Lanner Electronics Inc. and Affiliate member WIN Enterprises. The 250-plus members of the Alliance collaborate closely with Intel to create hardware, software, tools, and services to help speed intelligent systems to market.


Intel® Xeon® Processors E3-1200 v3


The Intel Xeon processors E3-1200 v3 are based on the 22nm Haswell microarchitecture which delivers a 10 to 15% performance increase on previous generations and offers 25 percent lower design power. This allows the Intel Xeon processors E3-1200 v3 family to deliver significantly better performance within a given power envelope. The Intel Xeon processors E3-1200 v3 with embedded support integrate four cores, running up to 3.5 GHz (3.9GHz Turbo), and a maximum TDP of 84W. The FCLGA1150 socket is compatible with many processor options, including Intel® CoreTM i3 and i5 processor families, giving system developers significant opportunities to scale platform performance.


The Intel Xeon processors E3-1200 v3 support new security enhancements not available on previous generations. The devices support Intel® Advanced Equipment Standard New Instructions (Intel® AES-NI) acceleration using hardware to help accelerate data encryption and decryption by up to 4X. The Intel Xeon processors E3-1200 v3 also support the Intel® Data Plane Development Kit (Intel®  DPDK) that is used to optimize packet processing including deep packet inspection (DPI).


The Intel Xeon processors E3-1200 v3 integrate up to 8MB cache memory and support up to 25.6 GB/s memory bandwidth with two DDR3-1600 memory channels. The devices support sixteen PCI Express 3.0 lanes that can be configured to support a single x16 port, two x8 ports or an x8 port and two x4 ports. This gives system designers the opportunity to support a range of networking interfaces.


Scalable 1U Network Appliances


Several companies have developed network appliances based on the Intel Xeon processors E3-1200 v3 family. The three 1U rack-mount platforms I am covering here have optional dual redundant ATX power supplies, include Intel embedded processor options and can support up to 23 or 24 GbE interfaces.


Figure 1 shows the WIN Enterprises PL-10530 Network Services Appliance block diagram. The platform supports Intel® Xeon® processors E3-1200 v3 with TDP up to 95W and dual channel DDR3-1600 memory up to 32GB with, or without ECC. The platform will also support Intel Core i7/i5/i3 processors.

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Figure 1. WIN Enterprises PL-10530 Network Services Appliance Block Diagram.


The WIN Enterprises PL-10530 integrates up to two SATA HDDs and seven copper GbE ports with LAN bypass on two pairs. Additional network interfaces can be installed using the PCI Express x8 slot and separate PCI Express x8/2x4 expansion module bay. The expansion bay can also be used for security acceleration modules. The WIN Enterprises PL-10530 Network Services Appliance is shown in Figure 2.

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Figure 2. WIN Enterprises PL-10530 Network Services Appliance.


The Portwell CAR-4020 Network Security Appliance shown in Figure 3 also supports the Intel Xeon processors E3-1200 v3 family with Intel® C226 Chipset. The platform integrates three network interface module bays that will support eight GbE interfaces, a 10GbE interface or modules with packet processing acceleration devices including the Intel® Communications Chipset 89xx Series. The Intel Communications Chipset 89xx Series integrate hardware acceleration for Intel® QuickAssist technology that can be used to support encryption and decryption up to 20Gb/s.

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Figure 3. Portwell CAR-4020 Network Security Appliance.


The Lanner FW-8771 Network Security Platform shown in Figure 4 supports Intel Xeon processor E3-1275 v3, E3-1225 v3 and other LGA1150 processors. The platform supports 32GB DDR3-1600 memory with ECC and eight copper GbE ports with up to three LAN Bypass pairs. The platform also supports two expansion bays for network interface modules. The modules available support various network interfaces including eight Fiber GbE interfaces, dual copper 10GbE, dual or quad 10GbE and quad copper GbE with Intel Communications Chipset 89xx Series for hardware security acceleration.


Figure 4. Lanner FW-8771 Network Security Platform.


Highly Integrated Solutions


These network appliances based on the Intel Xeon processors E3-1200 v3 family are highly integrated systems with many options available covering processor performance, memory, storage, networking interfaces and additional hardware acceleration. The performance of these network appliances can be scaled to cover a wide range of network security and related networking functions.



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Portwell is a Premier member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance. Lanner Electronics Inc. is an Associate member and WIN Enterprises is an Affiliate member of the Alliance.


Simon Stanley

Roving Reporter (Intel® Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Principal Consultant, Earlswood Marketing

Follow me on Twitter: @simon_stanley