by Adam Armstrong

Mellanox Introduces New BlueField Family Of SoC Programmable Processors

Today Mellanox Technologies announced its new family of programmable processors for networkding and storage applications, the Bluefield family. There is an increasing need for higher levels of SoC (System-on-Chip) integration in the industry and this new family aims to address this need. Mellanox believes that broader integration of SoC will result in simplified system designs, lower total power, and a reduced overall system cost.

Incorporating Mellanox’ latest generation ConnectX 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. BlueField also leverages the Tilera coherent mesh interconnect technology (that Mellanox acquired with EZchip). Mellanox claims its new family of devices can deliver unmatched levels of integration for multiple applications, including dataplane offload for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), advanced networking and security, and serving as the embedded storage controller of an array of solid state Flash drives.

Key Technical Features

  • Industry-leading network I/O, with both Ethernet and InfiniBand support
  • Multi-rate ports servicing 10G, 25G, 40G, 50G, 56G and 100Gb/s
  • Comprehensive networking offloads including VXLAN, NVGRE, GENEVE overlay networks, RSS, TSS, HDS, LRO, LSOv2, RDMA, and RoCE
  • Low latency NVMe over Fabrics translation between PCIe and Ethernet/InfiniBand
  • High-bandwidth PCIe controllers with Gen3 and Gen4 support as well as SRIOV
  • Tiled array of ARMv8 processor cores with unified virtual memory system
  • Three-level cache hierarchy with scalable distributed hardware coherency
  • Multi-DDR4 memory controllers with ECC, supporting up to 2667MT/s
  • Integrated security acceleration for protocols including IPsec, SSL/TLS, DTLS and data-at-rest applications
  • High-performance crypto acceleration for AES, SHA, RSA, DSA, Elliptic Curve and Diffie-Hellman
  • Integrated cores leverage the vast ARM software ecosystem for development tools and pre-ported applications
  • Typical runtime environment is based on KVM/Linux and standard frameworks and applications such as DPDK, OVS, Ceph, etc.
  • Accelerated Network Functions Virtualization and Open Virtual Switch offload support


BlueField SoC devices are planned for sampling in Q1 of 2017, with additional family members in the 2nd half of 2017.

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