August 26th, 2019 by Adam Armstrong
Mellanox Announces ConnectX-6 Dx & BlueField-2 SmartNICs & IPU Solutions
Today at VMworld 2019 in San Francisco, Mellanox Technologies Ltd. introduced next-generation cloud SmartNICs and I/O Processing Unit (IPU) solutions with ConnectX-6 Dx and BlueField-2. Mellanox claims the new SmartNICs and IPU solutions are able to deliver unprecedented data center security, performance and efficiency at massive scale, for any workload. Mellanox will be showcasing its technology at VMworld 2019 at their booth, #1463.
As cloud computing continues to expand, the need for better underlying data center infrastructure, such as SmartNICs and IPUs, will go up. With this in mind, Mellanox is building off of the innovation of its ConnectX-6 and Bluefield portfolio. On the SmartNIC front, the company is announcing its new ConnectX-6 Dx that can provide up to two ports of 25, 50 or 100Gb/s, or a single port of 200Gb/s Ethernet connectivity powered by 50Gb/s PAM4 SerDes technology and PCIe 4.0 host connectivity. Mellanox also states that the new ConnectX-6 Dx’s hardware offload engines include IPsec and TLS inline data-in-motion crypto, advanced network virtualization, RoCE, and NVMe-oF storage accelerations.
On the IPU side, Mellanox is announcing its BlueField-2 IPU. BlueField-2 IPU is said to take the above advanced capabilities of the ConnectX-6 Dx with the addition of an array of powerful Arm processor cores, high performance memory interfaces, and flexible processing capabilities, for both Ethernet and InfiniBand connectivity of up to 200Gb/s. BlueField-2 is ideal for cost-effective NVMe storage, security, IoT and edge computing platforms leveraging its embedded controllers operating as a SoC. Mellanox also offers BlueField-2 SmartNICs. According to Mellanox, these SmartNICs act as a coprocessor that puts a computer in front of the computer to transform bare-metal and virtualized environments using advanced software- defined networking, NVMe SNAP storage disaggregation, and enhanced security capabilities.
As stated above, the new technologies are ideal for cloud usage. From a security standpoint, the ConnectX-Dx delivers security features such as IPsec, TLS, and AES-XTS built-in cryptographic acceleration, and Hardware Root of Trust. BlueField-2 has security features such as accelerated key management, integrated Regular Expression (RegEx), and pattern detection. From a scalability standpoint, the technologies offer additional network virtualization offloads, enhanced programmability and extreme scale over their previous generations, ideal for hyperscale cloud and SDN/NFV data centers. Both offer a huge performance boost with RoCE and InfiniBand with enhanced programmability and robustness.