Until now, neural-class connectivity was provided by Smart NICs based only on FPGAs or NPUs, which routinely cost 10x more than standard NICs, and only by hyperscale Cloud service providers such as Google and Microsoft with the massive size needed to achieve economies of scale. In relentless pursuit of driverless data centres, hyperscale companies developed Smart NIC fabrics to migrate from centralized appliances such as firewalls, to a distributed architecture that can scale to millions of servers, and to software defined automation which requires only a single admin for tens of thousands of servers.
Responding to the need for Smart NIC fabrics in the enterprise, Solarflare pioneered the following innovations based on standard Ethernet:
Cloudwick helps leading enterprises like 3M, Bank of America, Comcast, Home Depot, Intuit, JP Morgan, NetApp, Target, Visa, and Walmart gain competitive advantage from open source, data lake, Big Data, Cloud and advanced analytics. Cloudwick is leveraging XtremeScale Fabric technology in its next generation of highly scalable solutions.
"Our business is modernizing data, analytics and Cloud operations, which in most cases involves a migration to scale-out environments", stated Mark Schreiber, General Manager at Cloudwick. "With software defined network processing on every server, Solarflare XtremeScale Fabrics provides both the granularity and scalability we need in a networking platform for highly distributed applications."
According to Ahmet Houssein, Vice President of Marketing at Solarflare, "In the past, very few application servers needed the power to inspect packets at line speed, nor the intelligence to shape a network, and when they did this rare capability was provided by expensive FPGAs. Today, there is a pervasive need by analytics, machine learning and security applications for sophisticated packet processing, and NICs are a perfect platform because theyre designed into every server in the data centre."
Hyperscale public Cloud service providers such as AWS, Google and Microsoft are leading an epic migration to new data centre technologies designed for deploying and profitably operating millions of servers, two orders of magnitude more than large corporate data centres with tens of thousands of servers. In these highly distributed environments, the humble NICs used to interconnect servers to Ethernet networks have emerged as critical network infrastructure.
Microsoft and Google are two hyperscale Cloud service providers publishing information about how they are instrumenting servers with Smart NICs and security chips to offload servers from a variety of applications such as performance acceleration and security:
The Smart NIC hardware and software deployed by hyperscale Cloud service providers is proprietary. Fortunately for enterprise IT organisations, Solarflare has developed an XtremeScale Smart NIC platform which provides server-level granularity and scalability and is now commercially available. The platform consists of the:
a. Performance Acceleration: A suite of applications are available which allow traffic to bypass the OS kernel and accelerate performance. The Universal Kernel Bypass (UKB) suite includes TCP, UDP, DPDK, and NVMe-oF variants of kernel bypass for general purpose, NFV and storage applications. Solarflare Onload is a TCP and UDP kernel bypass application, and is widely deployed in the electronic trading industry including 9 of the top 10 exchanges.
b. Security: The SolarSecure application monitors packet flows to every server. Using patented ServerLock technology, the app can be configured to lock down a server if needed. SolarSecure Manager is used to configure and manage thousands of SolarSecure clients shipped with every 8500 Series NIC. SolarSecure 1.0 will be announced and generally available in 2H'2017.
c. Network Visibility: The SolarCapture packet capture and network analytics application provides lossless packet capture up to 40Gbps needed for regulatory compliance and network analytics needed for security and network performance management. SolarCapture 1.0 is available today. SolarCapture 2.0, featuring a family of clustered enterprise-class appliances, will be announced and generally available on August 4th, 2017.