Solarflare Communications debuts software defined networking interface card (NIC)

Solarflare Communications, a global leader in networking solutions for modern data centers, is releasing an Open Compute Platform (OCP) software-defined, networking interface card (NIC), offering the industry’s most scalable, lowest latency networking solution to meet the dynamic needs of the enterprise environment.

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The SFN8722 OCP offers 10GbE performance, which is critical for today’s data centers where ultra scale dominates the market, supports 1000s virtual NICs and dual 10 GbE ports, and provides up to 30 million of packets per second and ultra-low latency under one microsecond.

In addition, this is the industry’s first universal kernel bypass (UKB) solution which includes three techniques for kernel bypass: a POSIX (Portable Operating System Interface) sockets-based API (Application Program Interface), TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) Direct and DPDK (Data Plane Development Kit). Combined these kernel bypass methods offer support for more applications than any other method currently available. This allows organizations the flexibility to develop and implement applications without having to modify their applications or networks. Solarflare’s OCP NIC is the most comprehensive 10GbE solution for ultra-scale environments requiring low latency and jitter, enhanced small packet performance, Telemetry and Security.

The Flareon® Ultra SFN8722 Server Adapter is a special form factor NIC, designed specifically to the OCP 2.0 specification, with the addition of NC-SI (Network Controller Sideband Interface) manageability. The SFN8722 is an extension of Solarflare’s family of Software Defined NICs, the Flareon Ultra SFN8000. This family of high performance Ethernet adapters has been designed for modern data centers that require scalability and performance. These adapters enable the capability to scale out to thousands of containers per server for increased flexibility and performance, and are suitable for many market segments that require extreme scale for mission critical applications. These include leading edge cloud service providers, Web 2.0 companies, content delivery networks (CDNs), hosting companies, stock exchanges and other capital market institutions, as well as commercial and retail banks.

Solarflare adapters are deployed in a wide range of use cases, including software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), web content optimization, DNS acceleration, web firewalls, load balancing, NoSQL databases, caching tiers (Memcached), web proxies, video streaming and storage networks. The SFN8722 also provides the ideal link between fast NVMe storage and the network.

The SFN8000 family adapters are based on a common hardware platform, enabling customers to configure the features and performance they want to meet the needs of each application, whether demanding high packet rates or benefitting from CPU offload. The XtremeScale™ X1 controller on these adapters has been tested and proven to withstand the most demanding environments including high frequency trading exchanges where Solarflare dominates the market. The SFN8722 has 8 lanes of PCle 3.1 making it an ideal workhorse for 10GbE data center and cloud workloads, providing high bandwidth, high-packet rate and CPU efficient processing of network traffic. Other capabilities include:

Hardware Based Packet Telemetry

    • Line-speed packet capture to memory, and high precision time-stamping with packet encapsulation for maintaining capture data integrity
    • Lossless packet capture to ensure that all network data is collected
    • The capability to distribute captured packets across many cores better supporting real-time packet analytics

Hardware Based Security (ServerLock™)

    • Unique hardware filter tables for each adapter hosted IP address
    • Hardware based firewall – Filtering packets in both directions at a record rate of 250 nanoseconds, offering the fastest filter execution available on the market
  • Less than 1 microsecond TCP half round trip latency
  • Up to 30 million packets per second processing rates
  • Flexible layer 2-4 flow steering
  • Full stateless offload support, including double checksum and reassembly for network overlay protocols
  • Scalable, High-Performance Virtualization with 2048 vNICs, SR-IOV, overlay network acceleration e.g. VXLAN, NVGRE.

When combined with Solarflare software licences, further benefits include application acceleration, kernel bypass to provide the industry’s best application to application performance, clock synchronization accuracy to provide MIFID II readiness, and defense against DDoS attacks at the network ingress point to the server, where attacks can be absorbed without degradation of “good” traffic, enabling a 3 to 4x improvement in packet-level filtering server headroom.

Justin Erenkrantz, Head of Compute Architecture at Bloomberg LP, explains, “We’re supportive of the Open Compute Platform and welcome additional vendors, such as Solarflare, participating in this growing ecosystem. We see adapters built to the OCP Mezzanine Card 2.0 specification as helping further drive innovation throughout the data center without being locked-in to proprietary hardware standards.”

Russell Stern, Solarflare President and Chief Executive Officer continues, “Solarflare’s mission is to innovate the way networking hardware and software meet the demands of the modern data center by adding value at the network interface. The OCP offering is another proof point in the company’s strategy to bring scalable, high performance and secure solutions to customers with large scale deployment needs. No one in the market can touch us when it comes to offering performance and value.”

The Flareon Ultra SFN8722 Server Adapter will be available in April 2017, via select OEM partners starting with Penguin Computing.

About Solarflare

Solarflare is pioneering server connectivity for neural-class networks. From silicon to firmware to software, Solarflare provides a comprehensive, integrated set of technologies for distributed, ultra-scale, software-defined datacenters.

The Solarflare XtremeScale Architecture is a design framework which includes a comprehensive suite of features for ultra-scale environments: High-bandwidth, ultra-low-latency, ultra-scale connectivity, software defined, secure with hardware firewalls, and instrumented for line-speed telemetry.

Solarflare solutions have earned a sterling reputation in financial services and are used by virtually every major global exchange, commercial bank and hedge fund. This exacting, regulated performance uniquely qualifies our solutions for use in ultra-scale applications in IoT, big data and artificial intelligence where low latency, robust security and insightful telemetrics are critical.

Solarflare solutions are available from leading distributors and value-added resellers, as well as from major global manufacturers. Solarflare is headquartered in Irvine, California, and operates R&D facilities in Cambridge, UK and New Delhi, India.


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