Nvidia is known for its GPUs, but has introduced Spectrum-4, a combination of networking technologies that reinforces its commitment not only to graphics processors, but also to systems designed to handle the demanding network workloads of AI and high-performance computing.\nThe latest Nvidia Spectrum products rely on the new Spectrum-4 Ethernet-switch ASIC that boasts 51.2 Tb\/s switching and routing capacity. The chip underpins the latest members of the company\u2019s Spectrum switches, which are available later this year. The switches are part of a larger Spectrum-4 platform that integrates Nvidia\u2019s ConnectX-7 smartNIC, its new BlueField-3 DPU, and its DOCA software-development platform.\nThe company introduced Spectrum-4 at its GPU Technology Conference this week.\nThe Spectrum-4 SN5000 Ethernet switch family can support 128 ports of 400GbE, combined with adaptive routing and enhanced congestion control mechanisms to optimize RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) fabrics.\nIt will handling massive data sets, such as those needed for modeling entire cars, entire factories, and even the entire Earth for weather modeling, said Kevin Deierling, vice president of networking at Nvidia. Ethernet wasn\u2019t designed for these massive data sets; it was designed for small packet exchanges, or what Nvidia calls \u201cmice flows,\u201d he said. Giant data sets for HPC and AI are what he referred to as \u201celephant flows\u201d that can overwhelm traditional Ethernet architectures.\nToday, due to legacy designs and inefficiency of ordinary Ethernet networking, these flows can end up on the same connection, causing congestion, degraded performance, and even dropped packets.\nSpectrum-4 is meant to address the problem. \u201cWhat we've done is built an accelerated Ethernet fabric that actually can accommodate these elephant flows, and manage them efficiently,\u201d he said.\nNvidia\u2019s answer is adaptive routing that looks at congestion within the network and directs traffic accordingly to handle massive workloads more effectively, he said. \u201cSo we call it accelerated Ethernet networking.\u201d\nSpectrum-4 switches also allow nanosecond timing precision, which Nvidia says is an improvement of five to six orders of magnitude compared to typical, millisecond-based data centers. They also accelerate, simplify, and secure the network fabric with 2x faster per-lane bandwidth, 2x more ports, 4x fewer switches and 40% lower power consumption compared to the previous generation.\nDeierling said he thinks there is a potential consolidation story here, but that organizations will also likely expand their networking infrastructure. \u201cA good example is some of our platforms today have nine of our Connect-X adapters inside of them. So those are delivering something like 1.8 terabits per second. Now all of a sudden, we can do that same level of bandwidth with four adapters. And so you'll see smaller boxes, you'll see consolidation, but I also think you'll see people scale out because they want to continue and double the performance,\u201d he said.\nWhile Spectrum-4 is meant for HPC and AI, Deierling said it has broader application. \u201cEven for traditional databases today, you want to perform Big Data analytics. Anybody who's really running their business in a thoughtful manner is embracing Big Data and data analytics. And you just need to move a ton of data, whether it's an AI application, or a data analytics application, you should be harvesting and using all of your data and synthesizing into business intelligence,\u201d he said.\nAnd the good news is using NVIDIA SDKs means existing applications will not require modification to take full advantage of the performance benefits.\nSpectrum-4 switch systems and BlueField-3 DPU and systems will be available later this year. ConnectX-7 is available now. Early access to the DOCA software-development platform that is available now.