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Mellanox's New Ethernet Record Catches Attention

March 01, 2017

It's hard to understate the value of Ethernet operations. Such tools are one of the greatest ways we have to keep our offices connected both internally and externally. So when recent successes in Ethernet like Mellanox's come into view, it's worth paying attention to.

Mellanox's most recent success involved its ConnectX-5 Ethernet network interface card (NIC), which managed to set a new performance record while running the Data Path Development Kit (DPDK), an open source system geared at least partially toward Ethernet systems.  The NIC in question, meanwhile, managed to reach a speed of 126 million packets per second (Mpps) worth of forwarding capabilities, and achieved that record in a system built around Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) ProLiant 380 Gen9 servers.

Regarded as a major breakthrough, this record-setting system shows that server input / output (I/O) systems geared toward high volume can support the large-scale deployment of systems like network functions virtualization (NFV) for not only the cloud data center but also for the communications service provider (CSP) system directly.

Since an increasing number of virtualized network functions (VNFs) like deep packet inspection, virtual session border controllers (vSBCs) and other systems have an increasingly I/O intensive nature, it's meant more than a few major challenges afoot. Perhaps the biggest of these is trying to build a suitable infrastructure to accommodate these systems while not blowing the budget in the process.

It's not easy to accommodate VNFs in a network; many of these require high-performance materials that can provide the necessary latency, packet rate, security measures and other issues to do the job. Mellanox's systems, meanwhile, have proven to be on par with some of the best in the field, and the company is actively working to develop even better systems now, working with major infrastructure software providers to bring out the best in the field.

Ongoing improvement is the only real way to stay near the top of the field, and Mellanox is demonstrating a clear commitment to that level of improvement. Not only is it currently setting records with its releases, but it's also actively working to produce the next generation of record-breakers. With that kind of development afoot, it may well reach a point where Mellanox is actually breaking the records it set itself, and that's a position to be in. It's been said that second place is the first loser, but when you have both first and second place to your credit, well, that's a good position to be in.

Mellanox's developments are doing impressive things in a field that needs increasing amounts of Ethernet performance, and will likely continue to do those impressive things down the line. 

Edited by Alicia Young

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