Consolidation in high capacity interface business

First Nividia announced it was to acquire Mellanox. Now Xilinx announces the acquisition of Solarflare. These are the two big sources of expertise in the high capability, high throughput Network Interface Card market.

When this sort of consolidation happens, it’s a signal to watch for one or more smaller players to emerge, potentially with expertise and money coming from the acquired companies, to develop the next state change in one of the often overlooked but critical enablers of the very large scale datacenters enabling cloud operational scale.

The competition is AWS, who have built their own ASIC, used in the NICs in the Nitro System. James Hamilton describes the system, used for I/O acceleration, security, and to implement a hypervisor.

February 2019 https://perspectives.mvdirona.com/2019/02/aws-nitro-system/
March 2019 https://nvidianews.nvidia.com/news/nvidia-to-acquire-mellanox-for-6-9-billion
April 2019 https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/xilinx-to-acquire-solarflare-300837025.html

Edge fabric management, Facebook version

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Omar Baldinado introducing the Facebook Networking @ Scale event, 22 May 2018

The event was held at the Computer History Museum.

Agenda https://atscaleconference.com/events/networking-scale-2018

To pick out one talk for attention, Niky Riga described the Edge Fabric which Facebook uses to configure and operate its equipment in PoPs, of which it has many hundreds, generally located in shared co-location space near to its users, so as to be able to serve content with lower latency than would be possible for direct service from the large data centers. This was a refresh of the material from an paper published in ACM Sigcomm, available here  https://research.fb.com/publications/engineering-egress-with-edge-fabric/

These events are good for meeting new people involved with networking, and for meeting up with people whom one hasn’t seen for a while, without the effort of going to Nanog or IETF meetings.

Updating, 22 June 18, to add the link to the video archive of the talks. https://code.facebook.com/posts/197834857529284/networking-scale-2018-recap/