August 9th, 2016 by Adam Armstrong
Mellanox Launches Integrated Networking Solutions That Accelerate NVMe Over Fabrics
Today at the Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, California, Mellanox Technologies, Ltd. announced its family of end-to-end networking solutions and software will accelerate connecting solid-state storage to the fabric. The family of products include the Mellanox ConnectX-4 adapter, ConnectX-5 adapter and BlueField family of programmable processors. This family will support smart offloads that connect SSDs directly to the network in the most efficient way possible, thus simplifying system design, which will reduce both power and storage system costs.
While none of these products are new, they all work with the newly-approved NVMe Over Fabrics standard. The ConnectX-5 can remove the storage system processor from the data path through hardware offloads. This would allow more NVMe SSDs to connect to Flash-based storage platforms without the burden of adding additional costly CPUs to the system. Both this adaptor and the ConnectX-4 integrate full hardware support of RDMA over both InfiniBand and Ethernet, at network speeds ideally matched for flash storage, including 25, 40, 50, and 100Gb/s speeds. Mangstor states that NVMe Over Fabrics solutions using Ethernet can be deployed in existing enterprise data centers by utilizing the newly released Resilient RoCE software.
As we previously stated, incorporating Mellanox’ latest generation ConnectX-5 network acceleration technology, BlueField integrates this technology with an array of high-performance 64-bit ARMv.8 processor cores and multiple Virtual Protocol Interconnect (VPI) 100Gb/s networking ports supporting InfiniBand and Ethernet. This makes BlueField an ideal networked storage controller for solid state Flash arrays due to the fact it would eliminate the need for PCI Express switches and CPUs in each SSD enclosure. Instead companies could save on costs and directly connect the flash devices to the network making them more efficient.
Mellanox is also pointing out that these new smart adaptors work seamlessly with its new Spectrum SN2100 Ethernet switch, pictured above. This new switch supports 16 ports at 100GbE, 32 ports at 50GbE, and 64 at 25GbE. It is a half-width, 1U form factor that allows dual-connectivity to storage arrays, flash shelves, and flash-accelerated servers, making it ideal for high-availability at speeds that support flash storage.