Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Mellanox announces software-defined SmartNIC adapters based on ARM

Mellanox Technologies announced its BlueField family of software-defined SmartNIC adapters, designed for scale-out server and storage applications.

The new adapters leverage embedded ARM processor cores based on the company's BlueField system-on-chip processors and accelerators in the network interface card (NIC).

Key features of the BlueField intelligent adapters:

  • 2 network ports of Ethernet or InfiniBand: 10G/25G, 40G, 50G or 100Gb/s options
  • RDMA support for both InfiniBand and RoCE from the leader in RDMA technology
  • Accelerators for NVMe-over-Fabrics (NVMe-oF), RAID, crypto and packet processing
  • PCI Express Gen3 and Gen4, with either x8- or x16-lane configurations
  • Integrated low-latency PCIe switch with up to 8 external ports for flexible topologies
  • Up to 16 ARMv8 Cortex A72 processors with 20MB of coherent cache
  • 8 – 32GB of on-board DDR4 DRAM
  • Comprehensive virtualization support with SR-IOV
  • Accelerated Switching and Packet Processing (ASAP2) OVS offloads
  • Multi-host and SocketDirect™ enabling a single adapter to support up to four CPU hosts
  • Multiple server form-factor options including half-height, half-length PCIe and other configurations


Mellanox said its new BlueField SmartNIC could be used for a range of applications, including Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), security and network traffic acceleration. The fully programmable environment and DPDK framework support a wide range of standard software packages running in the BlueField ARM subsystem. Examples include: Open vSwitch (OVS), Security packages such as L3/4 firewall, DDoS protection and Intrusion Prevention, encryption stacks (IPsec, SSL/TLS), traffic monitoring, telemetry and packet capture.

“Our BlueField adapters effectively place a Computer in Front of the Computer,” said Gilad Shainer, vice president marketing, Mellanox Technologies. “They provide the flexibility needed to adapt to new and emerging network protocols, and to implement complex networking and security functions in a distributed manner, right at the boundary of the server. This brings more scalability to the data center and enhances security by creating an isolated trust zone.”

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