Intel announced the I/OAT technology at the IDF in Taiwan today:
It also has been branded Intel QuickData Technology, a refreshingly simple and pertinent name. What I/OAT is, and how they can open it up is a long story, and network acceleration is only part of it. Stick around for a look at the next big thing in low overhead internal data transfers.
The problem with IO, specifically with TCP/IP and networking is a multifaceted mess, and the attempts to speed it up so far have all resulted in moving the bottleneck around a bit with minimal speed gains. There are three points to look at System Overhead, the TCP/IP stack, and memory, all of which can bring a machine to it's knees.
The first bit is the easiest, the TCP/IP stack. If it is poorly written, or even badly optimized, performance on GigE can be severely affected, and forget about 10GigE. Also, if it is single threaded, you can end up maxing a CPU while the rest of a server sits idle, so you really want to match the software to the hardware, or at least make it aware of it's surrounding..