Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Tuesday, October 27, 2020
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Intel Announced Two New FPGA-based Smart NICs 

Oct. 15, 2020 -- Intel Corporation today highlighted its advancements in the area of network connectivity. Intel’s latest product disclosures highlight the valuable role that advanced data center networks play in enabling customers to unleash the performance of compute at scale. The company introduced two new Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)-based Smart NICs, the Intel FPGA SmartNIC C5000X platform for cloud and the Silicom FPGA SmartNIC N5010 for networking, codenamed Big Springs Canyon and Lighting Creek respectively. These two new FPGA-based SmartNICs will deliver programmable infrastructure acceleration for efficiently moving data center traffic.

New FPGA-based Smart NICs

Intel-based SmartNICs complement Intel’s Foundational NICs by providing additional levels of flexibility, functionality and scalability to accelerate select workloads, such as virtual switching, storage and network security applications. Intel’s latest additions to its SmartNIC family include the Intel FPGA SmartNIC C5000X platform for cloud and Silicom FPGA SmartNIC N5010 for networking.

Features and solutions include:

FPGA-based SmartNIC C5000X Platform for Cloud:

  • The new Intel FPGA SmartNIC C5000X platform is optimized for use in cloud data centers. It is based on the Intel Xeon-D processor and the Intel Stratix 10 FPGA, offering a hardware programmable data path.
  • This new SmartNIC platform accelerates networking (e.g. vSwitch), storage, and security workloads from the server, freeing up processor resources and simplifying management of the data center infrastructure.
  • Inventec is one of the first ecosystem partners to leverage this platform. The Inventec FPGA SmartNIC C5020X offers customers the ability to customize their solution while still delivering greater levels of performance and programmability.

Silicom FPGA SmartNIC N5010 for Networking:

  • Intel is partnering with Silicom to deliver the Silicom FPGA SmartNIC N5010, the first hardware programmable 4x100G FPGA SmartNIC.
  • The Silicom FPGA SmartNIC N5010 features an Intel Stratix 10 DX FPGA with integrated high bandwidth memory (HBM) and Intel Ethernet 800 series adapter.
  • This new SmartNIC is optimized for communications service providers, delivering the performance and hardware programmability needed to implement select wireline and wireless infrastructure acceleration of 4G vEPC, 5G UPF, AGF, SrV6, vBNG and other functions for 25G and 100G networks.
  • The Silicom FPGA SmartNIC N5010 enables next-generation Intel-based servers to meet the performance needs of the VNFs such as vFW, IPSec, TLS, as well as others.
  • The FPGA-based SmartNIC features enhanced packet buffering, traffic flow monitoring, and extended connectivity to 4x100G.

Recent Customer Adoption of Intel SmartNICs

  • Baidu recently deployed Intel Smart NIC innovations based on Intel SoC FPGAs and Intel Ethernet 800 Series Network Adapter with Application Device Queues (ADQ) technology to improve their virtualization and workload performance, while accelerating data processing speeds
  • Supermicro SYS-1019P-FHN2T leverages the Intel PAC N3000 for VRAN server acceleration.

Source: Intel

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