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Mellanox Brings 100Gbps to Servers

December 30, 2014

Author: Loring Wirbel

Mellanox recently introduced single- and dual-port ConnectX-4 host channel adapters that support InfiniBand (IB) and Ethernet protocols to 100Gbps. They are based on the company’s Virtual Protocol Interconnect technology for converged IB/Ethernet environments. The ConnectX-4 package also includes advanced software for configurable networking hierarchies, including RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE, pronounced “rocky”) v1 and v2 and the new InfiniBand Dynamically Connected Transport (DCT).

The card can process 150 million messages per second with typical latencies of 0.7 microseconds. ConnectX-4 is intended to serve in any IB or Ethernet hierarchy, handling speeds of 10Gbps, 20Gbps, 25Gbps, 40Gbps, 50Gbps, 56Gbps, and 100Gbps. The card’s main applications include I/O Virtualization and virtualized overlay networks based on such encapsulations as VXLAN, NVGRE, Geneve, and MPLS. The single-chip ConnectX-4 VPI and ConnectX-4 EN controller ICs launched simultaneously with the PCIe card, offering a mix of 100Gbps and lower-speed connectivity, all based on a PCIe Gen3 x16 host interface.

Although ConnectX-4 is a natural follow-on to ConnectIB (IB only) and ConnectX-3 Pro (multiprotocol) for 56Gbps FDR, Mellanox’s transition strategy for Ethernet customers still must take into account existing users of 10Gbps and 40Gbps products. The company says it is succeeding in 40Gbps Ethernet adapter markets, but it also emphasizes the enhanced L3 routing capabilities and greater performance that ConnectX-4 gains from the mix of 100Gbps ports and RoCE v2 enhancements.

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