Secure SmartNIC Optimised for 25Gb/s from NVIDIA

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  • Provides advanced network offloads to accelerate cloud and enterprise workloads
  • Equipped with ConnectX-6 Lx for handling demanding workflows of data centres

NVIDIA in collaboration with Mellanox Technologies has launched the NVIDIA Mellanox ConnectX-6 Lx SmartNIC, a highly secure and efficient 25/50 gigabit per second (Gb/s) Ethernet smart network interface controller (SmartNIC)  for meeting the rising growth of enterprise and cloud scale-out workloads. The new SmartNIC performs accelerated computing by leveraging software-defined, hardware-accelerated engines to offload more security and network processing from CPUs.

“Modern cloud and enterprise data centres rely on accelerated networking to address their scalability and compute challenges,” said Amit Krig, senior vice president of software and NIC products in NVIDIA’s Mellanox networking business. “ConnectX-6 Lx SmartNIC delivers cost-effective, accelerated and secure networking for the new era of disaggregated, composable data centres.”

Multifold security provisions

Security features such as IPsec in-line cryptography and Hardware Root of Trust, and a 10x performance improvement for Connection Tracking, enable Zero Trust security throughout the data centre. Best-in-class RDMA over converged Ethernet (RoCE), advanced virtualisation and containerisation, and NVMe over Fabrics storage offloads provide high scalability and high-performance networking.

“The server industry is rapidly transitioning from 10GbE to 25GbE network speeds with very fast growth expected. With increasing requirements being placed on the network, more offloads need to be performed on SmartNICs,” said Scott Raynovich, founder and chief technologist of Futuriom, a technology research firm. “NVIDIA’s Mellanox ConnectX-6 Lx enables SmartNIC offloads, including advanced switching and security, in a cost-efficient 25/50GbE solution.”

Features of ConnectX-6 Lx

ConnectX-6 Lx is the 11th generation product in the ConnectX family. It has been designed to meet the needs of modern data centres, where 25Gb/s connections are becoming standard for handling demanding workflows, such as enterprise applications, AI and real-time analytics.

The Mellanox ConnectX-6 Lx provides:

  • Two ports of 25Gb/s, or a single port of 50Gb/s, Ethernet connectivity with PCIe Gen 3.0/4.0 x8 host connectivity
  • Security features including Hardware Root of Trust, Connection Tracking for stateful L4 firewalls, and in-line IPSec cryptography acceleration
  • GPUDirect® RDMA acceleration for NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) storage, scale-out accelerated computing and high-speed video transfer applications
  • Zero Touch RoCE (ZTR) for scalable, easy-to-deploy, best-in-class RoCE without switch configuration
  • Accelerated switching and packet processing (ASAP2), with built-in SR-IOV and VirtIO hardware offloads for virtualization and containerization, to accelerate software-defined networking and connection tracking for next-generation firewall services

ConnectX-6 Lx is expected to be available in Q3 2020. Like all products in the ConnectX family, it is compatible with the Mellanox SmartNIC software stack. Together with Mellanox Spectrum® switches and the LinkX® family of cables and transceivers, ConnectX SmartNICs offers a comprehensive end-to-end solution for high-performance computing, cybersecurity and financial services systems around the world.

Accelerating network applications

Rashid Khan, director of networking at Red Hat, said: “Security is critically important for any enterprise data centre or cloud deployment. We worked closely with Mellanox to develop Connection Tracking, which helps drive secure upstream and downstream networking capabilities. Connection Tracking enables software-defined networking and security to lock down critical resources and data; it offers stateful security at each server, and can be offloaded onto Mellanox ConnectX SmartNICs, reducing CPU cycles for optimal hardware utilisation.”

Michael McNerney, vice president of Marketing and Network Security at Supermicro, said: “As more and more enterprises transition from 10GbE to 25GbE, ConnectX-6 Lx offers our customers a feature-packed 25GbE SmartNIC that can accelerate their network and applications at a competitive price point.”


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