Mellanox Announces ConnectX-5 Advanced PCIe 4 Compatible NIC
Mellanox has updated its line of InfiniBand and Ethernet Controllers with the latest addition pushing up to 100 gigabits per second (Gb/s). The Mellanox ConnectX-5 functions at speeds of 10, 25, 40, 50, 56 and 100 Gb/s and includes additional functionality that further optimizes and maximizes network throughput while enabling greater flexibility and future-proofing the data center.
The rapid expansion that organization are experiencing with the amount of data that is produced and subsequently stored in the data center doesn't only affect storage. While those storage arrays certainly take the brunt of it, none of that data gets anywhere without making it through the network.
The Mellanox ConnectX-5 is a real team player, as far as network interface cards (NICs) go. By performing some advanced data operations on the card itself, that data doesn't have to be sent directly to a CPU for regular data processing. These data operations, or data algorithms, take several forms, but one example is the joining of data streams from multiple nodes into one stream.
This could seem like a simple enough task for the CPU on the destination node to do, but that's the point. Even these seemingly small operations, if done often enough, will make a difference. And while it's true that for a CPU the combining of those data streams is not a significant amount of work, you're also saving the time for all of the data to travel the hardware bus to even get to the CPU.
These data algorithms that the ConnectX-5 is performing are especially useful in High Performance Computing (HPC) scenarios, where the amount of data being worked with is frequently in the petabyte scale. But it doesn't take a huge government agency or mega corporation to take advantage of these cards. HPC is making its way to more data centers as the cost of the technology and the trends toward big data, analytics and machine learning make even smaller organizations take note of what can be achieved through these initiatives.
"The new ConnectX-5 100G adapter further enables high performance, data analytics, deep learning, storage, Web 2.0 and more applications to perform data-related algorithms on the network to achieve the highest system performance and utilization," said Gilad Shainer, vice president, marketing at Mellanox Technologies. "Today, scalable computer and storage systems suffer from data bottlenecks that limit research, product development, and constrain application services. ConnectX-5 will help unleash business potential with faster, more effective, real-time data processing and analytics. With its smart offloading, ConnectX-5 will enable dramatic increases in CPU, GPU and FPGA performance that will enhance effectiveness and maximize the return on data centers’ investment."
Another ConnectX-5 feature will be of particular interest to organizations that are in the middle of a system refresh; its compatibility with both PCI Express 3.0 and 4.0 helps to future-proof the technology purchase, so that it's usable in current and replacement servers alike.
The ConnectX-5 is expected to begin shipping in Quarter 3 of 2016.