The Drive for 25: HPE Introduces New 25GbE NICs

 
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At the Discover Conference earlier this month, HPE introduced exciting new 25G networking technology in their “Drive for 25” including dual-port 25GbE adapters, in both mezzanine and stand-up PCIe card form factors. These new adapters — based on the Mellanox ConnectX-4 Lx silicon — enable cloud and enterprise customers to improve network performance and efficiency while lowering total cost of ownership (TCO).

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Figure 1: HPE dual-port 25GbE adapter in both mezzanine (640SFP28) and PCIe card (640FLR_SFP28) formats, both based on the Mellanox ConnectX-4 Lx silicon.

Increasing Demand for 25GbE

With the increasing levels of performance coming out of HPE servers, applications frequently need more network bandwidth. 25GbE is ideal for many workloads and servers, providing 2.5x more bandwidth than 10GbE on each port. It accelerates many workloads including database, virtualization, video streaming, high-frequency trading (HFT), and network function virtualization (NFV). 25GbE — along with its close cousins 50GbE and 100GbE, also accelerates the new generation of infrastructure including hyper-converged infrastructure, in-memory computing, software-defined storage, and big data.

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Figure 2: HPE offers new speedy 25GbE adapters as part of the “Drive to 25” solution

 Two Ports, Flexible Connection Options

These new HPE 25GbE adapters each support two SFP28 ports to allow for high-availability or connection to multiple physical networks. Using a SFP28 form factor allows each port on the adapter to support many connectivity options, giving HPE customers the ability to choose the best cabling option for their needs:

  • 10GbE or 25GbE speeds
  • Copper or fiber optic cabling
  • Cables and transceivers supporting distances from 0.5M (50cm) to 10km
  • No breakout cables required
  • Ability to re-use existing structured 10GbE fiber for 25GbE connections

Advanced Support for Public and Private Cloud Workloads

These new HPE adapters, with Mellanox ConnectX-4 technology, also support advanced cloud offloads to improve packet processing speeds and maximize performance in virtualized environments. They include features to optimize video streaming, and support Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) using the RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) protocol.

As customers increasingly deploy HPE servers to handle cloud workloads and as network speeds increase, the smart offloads in these new HPE adapters offload the CPU and reduce network latencies. This delivers more CPU power to the applications. HPE customers will also leverage the increased bandwidth and efficiency to create more efficient software-defined storage and hyper-converged infrastructure solutions.

Highest Performance and Efficiency

The HPE 640SFP28 and 640FLR-SFP28 adapters come with impressive speed and green credentials as well. They feature some of the lowest latency and highest message rates of any 25GbE NIC, as well as very low power consumption for efficiency and a fan-less design for maximum reliability. The smart offloads allow more work to be accomplished more quickly by fewer CPU cores, and the two-port SFP28 design mentioned earlier allows a broad choice of the most efficient cabling for the distances required, including the ability to re-use existing structured fiber. (HPE also offers an EDR IB and 100Gb Ethernet adapter based on the Mellanox ConnectX-4 silicon.)

Mellanox Helps HPE Lead in Server Innovation

By offering 25GbE adapters with flexible ports and smart offloads, HPE and Mellanox are helping customers to build more efficient datacenters. This, “Drive to 25” is another example of the technology leadership that has made HPE a leader in server and networking technology for the last 25 years and Mellanox is proud to be an HPE server networking partner.

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About John F. Kim

John Kim is Director of Storage Marketing at Mellanox Technologies, where he helps storage customers and vendors benefit from high performance interconnects and RDMA (Remote Direct Memory Access). After starting his high tech career in an IT helpdesk, John worked in enterprise software and networked storage, with many years of solution marketing, product management, and alliances at enterprise software companies, followed by 12 years working at NetApp and EMC. Follow him on Twitter: @Tier1Storage

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