Virtualization and cloudcomputing infrastructure deployments are growing in scale and complexity. As a result, enterprise data centers, high-performance computing, and embedded environments need greater transmission speed, increased flexibility, and lower power consumption. Mellanox Technologies is tackling those challenges with its ConnectX-2 Virtual Protocol Interconnect (VPI) adapter (see the figure).
This adapter is an integrated network interface card (NIC) and physical layer (PHY) for servers in data centers dealing with clustered databases, simulations and other parallel applications, transactional services, and high-performance I/O applications. It incorporates 40-Gbit/s InfiniBand, 10-Gbit/s Ethernet, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), and Fibre Channel over InfiniBand (FCoIB). It also consumes up to 30% less power than its predecessor, helping data centers lower their power and cooling costs for server and storage I/O.
The ConnectX-2 features high bandwidth and low latency to ensure high performance with transaction-sensitive applications. The InfiniBand adapter delivers up to 40 Gbits/s of bandwidth with latencies as low as 1 µs. The Ethernet adapter delivers up to two ports of 10-Gbit/s bandwidth with 6-µs Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) latency or 3-µs remote direct memory access (RDMA) latency and kernel bypass for low-latency Ethernet (LLE) environments.
The ConnectX-2’s VPI unified I/O technology provides a one-wire solution for any networking, clustering, storage, and management application with an enhanced quality of service to guarantee high application productivity.
The adapter’s advanced virtualization support removes the roadblocks to server virtualization adoption. It improves performance and security with hypervisor offloads and a complete PCI-SIG single-root I/O virtualization (SRIOV) technology implementation. The PCI-SIG SRIOV support, in conjunction with the system virtualization technologies, allows multiple operating systems running simultaneously within a single server to natively share PCI Express devices. These capabilities free up CPU resources, helping each virtual machine achieve native operating-system performance, while resource isolation and protection ensures virtual machine security.
ConnectX-2 products are available in a variety of configurations. The model in the figure delivers InfiniBand and Ethernet with auto-sensing or preconfigured quad smallform- factor pluggable (QSFP) and small-formfactor pluggable plus (SFP+) ports. The ConnectX- 2 EN delivers 10-Gbit Ethernet, and the ConnectX-2 ENt delivers 10-Gbit Ethernet with integrated 10GBaseT PHYs. Samples are available today with general availability this month. Pricing is available upon request. Mellanox also sells networking ICs as well as switches and gateways and specialized networking cables.
LOUIS E. FRENZEL