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Xilinx launches software-defined, hardware-accelerated Alveo SmartNICs

04 March 2021

Addressing the demands of the modern data centre, Xilinx, Inc. has announced a range of new data centre products and solutions.

The new products include a family of Alveo SmartNICs, smart world AI video analytics applications, an accelerated algorithmic trading reference design for sub-microsecond trading, and the Xilinx App Store. 

Today’s most demanding and complex applications, from networking and AI analytics to financial trading, require low-latency and real-time performance. Achieving this level of performance has been limited to expensive and lengthy hardware development. With these new products and solutions, Xilinx is eliminating the barriers for software developers quickly to create and deploy software-defined, hardware-accelerated applications on Alveo accelerator cards.

“Data centres are transforming to increase networking bandwidth and optimise for workloads like artificial intelligence and real-time analytics,” said Salil Raje, Executive Vice President and general manager, Data Centre Group at Xilinx.

“These complex, compute-intensive and constantly-evolving workloads are pushing existing infrastructure to its limits and driving the need for fully composable, software-defined hardware accelerators that provide the adaptability to optimise today’s most demanding applications, as well as the flexibility to quickly take on new workloads and protocols, and accelerate them at line rate.”

New Alveo SN1000 SmartNICs

The Xilinx® Alveo™ SN1000 is the industry’s first family of composable SmartNICs offering software-defined hardware acceleration for all function offloads. SN1000 SmartNICs directly offload CPU intensive tasks to optimise networking performance, with an open architecture that can accelerate a broad range of network functions at line rate.

Using the Vitis™ Networking platform and industry-standard, high-level programming languages such as P4, C, and C++, software developers can create network functions, protocols, and applications that operate in hardware on the SmartNIC. Vitis Networking allows organisations quickly and easily to compose new, and tweak existing, network functions to handle new protocols and applications without replacing hardware, futureproofing investments. 

SN1000 SmartNICs provide software-defined hardware acceleration for a wide range of networking, security, and storage offloads, such as Open vSwitch and virtualisation acceleration (Virtio.net). Security offloads include IPsec, kTLS and SSL/TLS and accelerated storage applications such as Virtio.blk, NVMe™ over TCP, Ceph, and compression and crypto services. 

Industry support

“VMware is defining the hybrid cloud architecture for next-generation applications with heightened security requirements. SmartNICs will play a critical role in the VMware Cloud Foundation architecture by giving customers a unified management, security, and resiliency model that spans both bare metal and virtualised environments where the composability of Xilinx Alveo SN1000 SmartNICs will provide a flexible, integrated, and qualified solution for customers,” said Lee Caswell, Vice President of marketing, VMware Cloud Platform Business Unit.

 “Today’s software-defined data centre demands flexibility and scalability to meet the ever-changing needs of customer workloads. The innovative composable offload framework of the Xilinx Alveo SN1000 SmartNIC family gives Inspur the agility to adapt to evolving customer needs by rapidly developing and deploying custom workloads,” added Ben Li, General Manager of Network Business Unit at Inspur.

Based on the Xilinx 16nm UltraScale+™ architecture, the SN1000 family of SmartNICs are powered by the low-latency Xilinx XCU26 FPGA and a 16-core Arm® processor. SN1000 SmartNICs deliver dual-QSFP ports for 10/25/100Gb/s connectivity with leading small packet performance and a PCIe Gen 4 interconnect. The first model in the family is the SN1022, which is offered in a full-height, half-length form factor in a 75-Watt power envelope.
The Alveo SN1022 SmartNIC will be generally available in March 2021. 

Building the smart world with new AI video analytics platform 

Xilinx is launching an AI video analytics platform with an ecosystem of partner solutions built to accelerate the most complex and latency-sensitive AI video inferencing applications. The Xilinx smart world platform, powered by the Xilinx Video Machine-learning Streaming Server, delivers whole application acceleration and can support multiple neural networks on a single Alveo accelerator card at deterministic sub-100ms pipeline latency. The result is the industry’s lowest TCO for demanding AI video analytics applications.

Xilinx smart world ecosystem solutions, available today, include:

• Aupera is offering turnkey smart city and smart retail solutions that combine Aupera’s intelligent, video processing with Alveo accelerators. 

• Mipsology is providing a toolset for easy migration of existing AI applications from GPU-based architectures to the Alveo platform, as well as plug-and-play, high-performance AI inference acceleration. 

• DeepAI is delivering AI training at the edge on Alveo accelerators with up to a 10x performance per cost advantage compared to GPU-based solutions.

Low-latency electronic trading for everyone

Achieving sub-microsecond latency in algorithmic trading has traditionally required costly and time-consuming hardware development. The Vitis development platform now includes an accelerated algorithmic trading (AAT) reference design which gives software developers the ability to deliver sub-microsecond trading performance quickly and cost effectively, without the need for custom hardware development. 

AAT, implemented on Alveo accelerator cards, provides a modular design that includes all the necessary components for an end-to-end, low-latency trading solution. Each module can be customised using C and C++ in the Vitis platform to meet each firm’s specific needs. 

The AAT reference design is available today at no cost for Alveo accelerator card customers.

Xilinx app store

Xilinx has launched an app store with ready-to-deploy accelerated applications spanning smart world AI video analytics to anti-money laundering and live video transcoding. Developed by Xilinx ecosystem partners, the containerised pre-built applications provide an easy way to evaluate, purchase and deploy accelerated applications in minutes.  Visit the Xilinx App Store to learn more. 

Xilinx Adapt: data centre

Xilinx will showcase these and other accelerated solutions at the Xilinx Adapt: Data Centre event taking place 24-25 March. Xilinx Adapt is a virtual technology series highlighting key trends and advancements in the data centre, 5G, software & AI, automotive and Vivado. The events provide an opportunity for developers and ecosystem partners to connect with Xilinx experts and industry leaders with a program of presentations, forums, product training and labs.


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