Improve system I/O throughput by off-loading low-level I/O handling from the host CPU to a dedicated I/O processor.
Make it easier for OS and hardware vendors to write device drivers by defining a "split-driver" model. This includes a standard operating system module (OSM), provided by OS vendors, and a hardware-dependent module (HDM) provided by hardware vendors. An OSM for a given device type works with any HDM for that device type.
I2O support is currently available only in the Solaris (Intel Platform Edition). The Solaris 7 release includes the basic framework to enable support for I2O-capable hardware. The implementation supports I2O Specification 1.5. This framework includes:
I2O message/transport functionality necessary for OSMs to control I2O devices
Block storage and SCSI OSMs
In this release, booting from an I2O device is not supported. I2O hardware and non-Solaris software and firmware (such as HDMs and IRTOS) configuration from within the Solaris environment is also not supported. For a list of specific I2O hardware tested with Solaris 7, refer to the Solaris 7 (Intel Platform Edition) Hardware Compatibility List.