Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Monday, August 8, 2022

Nallatech Plugs New FPGA Card 

Nallatech claims to address price and performance with today's introduction of its 385A production-ready server-qualified FPGA card.

The 385A, which is available now, is a half-height, half-length PCIe Gen 3 card that includes Altera's floating-point enabled Arria 10 FPGA family, designed to deliver up to 1.5 Tflops of floating point performance. The card includes two independent banks of SDRAM memory and dual QSFP+ network ports, allowing the architecture to co-process and manage 1G, 10G, and 40G streaming applications.

Nallatech includes an optimized board support package that's compatible with the Altera Software Development Kit. Using the SKD, available for $350 when purchased with the card, customers less familiar with traditional FPGA hardware-based tool flows can program the card at a high level of abstraction, Allan Cantle, president and CEO of Nallatech, told Enterprise Technology.

"The OpenCL SDK allows the FPGA to be programmed with a software-based high-level language to quickly implement new applications without needing to use traditional low-level hardware languages, such as Verilog or VHDL," he said. "The Open Computing Language (OpenCL software) standard is the first open, royalty-free, unified programming model for accelerating algorithms on heterogeneous systems."

The cards can be purchased individually or as integrated servers, which come pre-loaded with tools such as Altera's OpenCL SDK and Nallatech board support packages.

FPGAs help datacenters reduce their power consumption and boost performance by efficiently cutting the amount of data that has to move and by accelerating many computational functions, Cantle said.

"The 385A leverages more flexibility using our OpenCL-based programmable FPGA, which enables power allocation where necessary, eliminating unnecessary power usage where not needed," he said. "Smart data transfer also enables the fastest throughput from point A to point B."

Nallatech is a subsidiary of Interconnect Systems, which delivers packaging and interconnect solutions for top-tier OEMs in industries such as supercomputer, data storage, networking, and aerospace.

FPGA adoption is growing because of its efficiency and Intel's acquisition of Altera, said Cantle.

"FPGAs provide the most efficient execution of streaming computational functions in either a CPU attached accelerator use case or where the FPGA is placed in line with the flowing data around a server/cluster," he said. "For example, the FPGA can provide Stream Processing on the flowing network traffic to alleviate the CPU, where traditional methods have hit a technological ceiling with Von Neumann type implementations."

In the short term, Intel’s acquisition of Altera is bringing enormous attention to FPGAs in the computing world. In the longer term this should increase competition to drive more availability, performance and level of integration for FPGA technology, said Cantle.

The market for FPGAs is expected to be worth $8.5 billion by 2020, according to January 2015 research by MarketsandMarkets. For its part, Grand View Research predicts an even larger market, estimating FPGAs will be worth $9.9 billion by 2020. Miniaturization, innovation, and technological advances in bandwidth demand in wireless networks are driving new FPGA products in expanded markets, including automotive, telecommunications, consumer electronics, aerospace, and industrial, Grand View Research wrote.




About the author: Alison Diana

Managing editor of Enterprise Technology. I've been covering tech and business for many years, for publications such as InformationWeek, Baseline Magazine, and Florida Today. A native Brit and longtime Yankees fan, I live with my husband, daughter, and two cats on the Space Coast in Florida.

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