Nvidia prepares for data centre growth with latest NIC

Claimed to be the industry’s first secure Ethernet smart network interface controller (NIC), the Nvidia Mellanox ConnectX-6 Lx SmartNIC is designed to meet the growth in enterprise and cloud scale-out workloads.

The 25/50Gbits per second Ethernet smart NIC is the 11th generation product in the ConnectX family. It is designed for data centres, where 25Gbits per second connections are becoming standard for handling demanding workflows, such as enterprise applications, artificial intelligence (AI) and real-time analytics.

The ConnectX-6 Lx SmartNIC SmartNIC extends accelerated computing by leveraging software-defined, hardware-accelerated engines to offload more security and network processing from CPUs, explained Nvidia.

Accelerated security features such as IPsec in-line cryptography and hardware root of trust, and a 10-fold performance improvement for connection tracking, enable zero trust security throughout the data centre.

According to the company, best-in-class remote direct memory access (RDMA) over converged Ethernet (RoCE), provides GPUDirect RDMA acceleration for NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) storage, to accelerate computing and high-speed video transfer applications and to offload networking. The zero touch RoCE (ZTR) affords scalable, easy-to-deploy, best-in-class RoCE without switch configuration, added Nvidia.

The Mellanox ConnectX-6 Lx provides two ports of 25Gbits per second, or a single port of 50Gbits per second and Ethernet connectivity with PCIe Gen 3.0/4.0 x8 host connectivity.

Accelerated switching and packet processing (ASAP2), with built-in SR-IOV and VirtIO hardware offloads for virtualisation and containerization, to accelerate software-defined networking and connection tracking for next-generation firewall services

ConnectX-6 Lx is sampling now, with general availability expected in Q3 2020.

Mellanox SmartNICs and software are used in cloud, hyperscale and enterprise data centers, high-performance computing, cybersecurity, and financial services systems around the world.

Nvidia is credited with inventing the graphics processing unit (GPU) in 1999. The GPU is credited with sparking the growth of the PC gaming market, redefined modern computer graphics, and revolutionised parallel computing. More recently, GPU deep learning ignited modern AI — the next era of computing — with the GPU acting as the brain of computers, robots, and self-driving cars that can perceive and understand the world.

(Pic credit: Vladimir_Timofeev)


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