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Xilinx announces new line of adaptable SmartNIC cards

News Analysis
Mar 10, 20213 mins

Alveo SN1000 SmartNICs come with 100Gb/s line rate network function offload and composability features for customization.

Abstract network of digital streams.
Credit: Gonin / Getty Images

One thing is clear about Xilinx: It isn’t waiting around for is acquisition by AMD to close. The latest initiatives from the company are a new SmartNIC card and an FPGA platform app store that features ready-to-deploy solutions aimed at key markets, such as data analytics, video and image processing, machine learning, and security.

The new Alveo SN1000 line features integrated “composability” features that allow for customization. Enterprise users can add their own custom networking functions, as needed, to supplement the SmartNIC’s core networking capabilities.

SmartNICs are a growing trend in data centers. Intel, Nvidia (through Mellanox) and Xilinx have all introduced them in the past year. The concept is simple enough: Offload all network processing and data routing from the CPU, so the CPU can stick to its core computing tasks.

Xilinx’s new SmartNICs add support for developers to create and deploy software-defined, hardware-accelerated applications. The Alveo SN1000 family of SmartNICs are powered by Xilinx’s XCU26 FPGA and a 16-core Arm A72 processor complex, along with customizable logic and support for secure boot and QoS traffic shaping management. The cards have dual-QSFP ports for 10/25/100Gbs connectivity and top-end 200Gbps full-duplex throughput.

The Alveo SN1000 family starts with the SN1022 SmartNIC, a PCIe Gen4 100Gb/s composable SmartNIC with a comprehensive suite of solutions for network, storage, and compute acceleration functions on a single platform. The card comes with Xilinx’s Vitis Networking, which supports P4, C, and C++ programming by developers to compose custom offloads and tweak existing offloads to handle new protocols and applications without replacing hardware.

“These complex, compute-intensive and constantly-evolving workloads are pushing existing infrastructure to its limits and driving the need for fully composable, software-defined hardware accelerators that provide the adaptability to optimize today’s most demanding applications as well as the flexibility to quickly take on new workloads and protocols, and accelerate them at line rate,” said Salil Raje, executive vice president and general manager of the data center group at Xilinx, in a statement.

The Alveo SN1000 SmartNICs are expected to be generally available in March.

FPGA App Store launched

Xilinx has also launched an FPGA App Store with ready-to-deploy, accelerated applications such as AI video analytics, anti-money laundering, and live video transcoding. The store was developed by Xilinx partners and features containerized, pre-built applications that provide a fast, easy way to evaluate, purchase and deploy accelerated applications. The FPGA section is a part of the greater Xilinx App Store.

Andy Patrizio is a freelance journalist based in southern California who has covered the computer industry for 20 years and has built every x86 PC he’s ever owned, laptops not included.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of ITworld, Network World, its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.