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ACM TechNews

Intel Labs Finds a Way to Create Routers ­sing Clustered Servers

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Intel Labs says it can reuse or reconfigure commodity type servers and convert them into data center routers. Intel researchers, led by Gianluca Iannaccone and Sylvia Ratnasamy, used an open source software package called Click Router to tie the servers together for use as a router. The reused servers, which the researchers call router bricks (RBs), are programmable and scalable.

"These are a first step toward flexible network infrastructure," Iannaccone says. "We are currently pursuing the application of RB to data centers, where they will help in content delivery, network power management, and next-gen Internet routing."

The researchers say the development could lead to the creation of networks that are easier to use and cost less to evolve. Programmers would be able to work with familiar hardware and software, decouple network hardware and software, and avoid developing special software. Intel's multi-core Nehalem chips would provide the reused servers with the bandwidth and gigabit speed needed to perform at enterprise levels.

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