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FMS: Mellanox BlueField-Based Storage Controllers

BF1600 and BF1700 storage controllers deliver 4 million IO/s with NVMe-oF, up to 200Gb/s of network and PCIe bandwidth, and network ports configurable as either Ethernet or IB.

Mellanox Technologies, Ltd. introduced BlueField-based storage controllers, and showcased at the Flash Memory Summit conference.

Mellanox BlueField Controller 1808SN

These controllers offer high performance for Ethernet storage fabrics, along with efficiency and programmable virtualization for NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF), empowering customers to build and deploy fast and flexible networked flash storage solutions.

BlueField BF1600

Mellanox BF1600 BlueField Storage Controller Card

The BlueField BF1600 and BF1700 storage controllers deliver over four million IO/s with NVMe-oF, up to 200Gb/s of network and PCIe bandwidth, and network ports configurable as either Ethernet or IB.

They provide performance for NVMe over RoCE (RDMA over Converged Ethernet), IB, and TCP/IP, and include smart offloads for storage including NVMe-oF, erasure coding, and T10-DIF data integrity signatures. The BlueField SoC integrates the ConnectX-5 network adapter with sixteen 64-bit ARM cores to create a fully-programmable environment for storage software such as compression, encryption, RAID, and virtualization.

The BlueField storage controllers improve the performance and efficiency and extend the capabilities of Ethernet Storage Fabrics. In addition they support IB-based storage solutions.

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Mellanox BF1600 BlueField Storage Controller Card spectabl 1808SN

Storage, server, and cloud customers are telling us they need faster, more efficient ways to network and virtualize NVMe flash,” said Kevin Deierling, VP, marketing, Mellanox. “These BlueField storage controllers tightly-integrate flash connectivity, networking, and Arm processors to maximize performance and efficiency, while eliminating the need for a separate CPU in storage and hyperconverged appliances. This makes them perfect for connecting and virtualizing the fastest non-volatile storage.

BlueField storage controller cards are sampling with fully qualified solutions expected in Q4. The cards are being integrated into storage systems by multiple OEMs and original design manufacturers (ODMs). All BlueField storage controllers, SmartNICs, and development systems, include the ability to accelerate NVMe-oF.

NVMe over Fabrics continues to be one of the hottest storage topics amongst both customers and vendors,” said George Crump, lead analyst, Storage Switzerland LLC. “Some NVMe-oF solutions use centralized flash arrays and others use a hyperconverged model, but both models can benefit from a Storage Controller that can support 200Gb/s of network throughput with programmability and hardware offloads. The Mellanox BlueField storage controllers are extremely well-positioned to network the ongoing flash storage revolution.

Mellanox Ethernet Fabric scheme 1808SN

E8 Storage delivers revolutionary, shared NVMe storage solutions via our patented software running on top of Mellanox Ethernet Storage Fabric technology,” said Ziv Serlin, VP, architecture and co-founder, E8 Storage Systems Ltd.We are excited to be working with Mellanox to incorporate the integrated networking and Arm CPU capabilities in BlueField SmartNICs into our solutions, providing greater performance and efficiency to our customers.

“Mellanox ConnectX adapters and Spectrum switches already help power the distributed, extremely fast, and software-defined Excelero NVMesh,” said Yaniv Romem, CTO and co-founder, Excelero, Inc.BlueField offers an exciting combination of high-speed networking, NVMe storage virtualization, and programmable cores that can enable client-side offloads for Excelero NVMesh and free up more CPU for applications. We are already testing BlueField SmartNICs and look forward to working with Mellanox to give customers the best possible converged and disaggregated NVMe storage solutions.

Kaminario Cloud Fabric is built to provide extreme flexibility and scalability through high-performance software-defined storage for our customers,” said Eyal David, CTO, Kaminario Technologies Ltd.We leverage Mellanox adapters in our storage nodes to support RoCE in an Ethernet Storage Fabric, and BlueField controllers enable us to deliver higher performance and efficiency to maximize the benefits of NVMe over Fabrics.

Microsemi and Mellanox have worked together to enable high-performance storage and server solutions,” said Andrew Dieckmann, VP, marketing, data center solutions, Microsemi Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microchip Technology, Inc. “BlueField’s target application space in networked storage and integration of PCIe Gen 4 makes it an excellent platform for deployment with Microsemi Switchtec PCIe switches, including our latest Switchtec PCIe Gen 4 switches offering the lowest latency, lowest power and highest reliability in the industry. We look forward to continuing our work with Mellanox BlueField as we expand our family of innovative Switchtec, Flashtec, SmartRAID and SmartHBA devices.

NetApp has long used Mellanox network controllers to support server connectivity, including NVMe-oF on our E-series arrays,” said Robin Huber, VP, E-Series storage group, NetApp, Inc.We look forward to continuing our partnership with Mellanox as we continue to roll out our portfolio of NVMe over Fabrics support.

NVMe over Fabrics and increasingly fast networking represents an important approach to connecting NVMe SSDs with next-gen servers in enterprise and cloud data centers,” said Ilker Cebeli, senior director, memory product planning, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.As Samsung delivers faster Z-NAND, we intend to continue working closely with Mellanox ConnectX-5 adapters and BlueField controllers to create high-performance Ethernet Storage Fabric.

SK hynix’s PE6000 series supports NVMe over Fabrics using Mellanox adapters and new NVMe features,” said Jason Jinsoo Kang, VP, head NAND product planning office, SK hynix, Inc.Visit SK hynix Booth 107 at Flash Memory Summit to see a live demo of NVMe-oF (NVMe-over-Fabrics) using SK hynix’s NVMe SSD with Mellanox ConnectX-5 network adapters and a Mellanox Spectrum Ethernet switch.

“High-speed networking and RDMA using RoCE on Mellanox adapters are already part of the Toshiba KumoScale NVMe-oF solution,” said Sudhakar Mungamoori, director, cloud technology solutions, Toshiba Memory America, Inc.Mellanox is showing great innovation with their BlueField storage controllers, which can enable NVMe over Fabrics to run entirely on a single, integrated card.

Mellanox BlueField shows great promise as an NVMe storage controller,” said Scott Hamilton, senior director, product management, data center systems business unit, Western Digital Corp.As Western Digital innovates around new storage solutions and data center architectures, we look forward to working with Mellanox to help enable high-performance infrastructures for today and into the future.

Additional resources:
See what Mellanox was presenting: showing at Flash Memory Summit 2018
BlueField storage controller cards
Mellanox BlueField System on a Chip (SoC)
Ethernet Storage Fabric solution brief, case studies, blogs and videos
The Best Flash Array Controller Is… BlueField