IBM Corp is making enthusiastic noises about Asynchronous Transfer Mode and plans to add the high-speed packet technology to its Global Network, but these days it needs plenty of help from its friends, such as Cisco Systems Inc. In January, Cisco, now headquartered in San Jose, was signed by IBM’s Large-Scale Computing Division to develop […]
IBM Corp is making enthusiastic noises about Asynchronous Transfer Mode and plans to add the high-speed packet technology to its Global Network, but these days it needs plenty of help from its friends, such as Cisco Systems Inc. In January, Cisco, now headquartered in San Jose, was signed by IBM’s Large-Scale Computing Division to develop a product that integrates mainframes into client-server networks using either type of mainframe channel and the fruits of the development work – at its IBM Internetworking Centre in Raleigh, North Carolina have just arrived. The product is the Channel Interface Processor, which packs formidable processor power, and plugs into the Cisco 7000 and 7010 routers to provide channel-attach connection at Asynchronous Transfer Mode speeds for IBM Corp mainframes, eliminating the need for a controller that creates data path bottlenecks. The Channel Interface Processor is a single board that goes into the router and supports both 17Mbps Escon channels and standard bus-and-tag channels. Each board provides two mainframe connections – one or two ESCON Channel Adaptors for users with ES/9000s, one or two Parallel Channel Adapters for users with older mainframes, or one of each for users in the process of migrating to Escon; a total of eight channels of either type can be installed in a single Cisco 7000, which includes the company’s 270,000 -packet-per -second Silicon Switch Processor, and supports its 155Mbps Asynchronous Transfer Mode interface processors and high-speed local and wide area network interface processors. The Channel Interface Processor requires plenty of processing power to do its thing – the motherboard uses a MIPS R4600, and the Parallel Channel Adaptor uses an R3000, both from Integrated Device Technology Inc, and the Escon Channel Adaptor uses an IBM Corp bit-slice processor. The R4600 is clocked at 100MHz and rated at 100 MIPS. The Channel Processor is the first phase of a strategic multi-product channel-attachment programme Cisco plans to implement over the next several years – early next year it will deliver TCP/IP Offload, a software capability that enables the TCP/IP protocols to run on the new processor, which it says will greatly reduce mainframe overhead, and that will be followed by support for SNA mainframe applications and for Advanced Peer-to-Peer Networking. Running in the Cisco router, the Channel Interface Processor appears to the host as a 3172 IP controller, and supports TCP/IP for MVS, TCP/IP for VM, and Interlink TCP/IP for MVS. Out December, it has from 2Mb to 64Mb memory and is $28,000 for a Single Parallel Channel Adaptor, $35,000 for a dual, $40,000 for one Escon, $59,000 for two, and $49,000 for one of each type.