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Link Virtualization Software
for Napatech FPGA-based SmartNICs

Napatech SmartNICs and Link™ Virtualization Software provide a hardware-based solution for OVS offload, dramatically increasing performance while reducing CPU consumption. The Link™ Virtualization Software offloads and accelerates the Open vSwitch (OVS) dataplane to provide increased network performance and much better CPU efficiency with lower complexity and enhanced scalability than alternatives.

Link™ Virtualization Software supports a broad range of applications and use cases – and can immediately improve an organization’s ability to monetize virtualized applications.

Watch video: Link™ Virtualization Software and Hardware for 5G Network Functions Virtualization (NFV).
Presented by Napatech VP of Product Management Daniel Proch.

Key Benefits

Napatech provides the unique combination of the industries highest performance FPGA-based SmartNIC with software for networks requiring Open vSwitch Offload and Acceleration.

High Performance

Scale networks to 100Gbps and 60Mpps to the host

Significantly Reduced CPU Utilization

Return CPU cores to applications and services

Total Cost of Ownership

Cost effective scaling for your data center


Completely programmable for custom requirements

Environmentally Sound

Lower power, space, and cooling

Solution Overview

Network operators are using virtualized solutions in their network architectures based on open and standard computing platforms, offering the ability to optimize equipment costs and operational expenses by deploying services as software.

For virtualized application hosting, Open vSwitch (OVS) is the default multilayer switching solution. But software-based virtual switching requires significant CPU resources, resulting in low data throughput and wasting valuable CPU cycles.

Napatech’s Link™ Virtualization Software and FPGA-based SmartNICs offer a 60x performance improvement compared to alternative approaches and saves significant CPU resources.

Key Features

Link Virtualization Software for Napatech

Napatech Link™ Virtualization Software provides the Napatech SmartNIC family with a robust feature set and extendable architecture allowing plug-and-play virtualized dataplane offload support for Napatech SmartNICs. Key features are listed below.

Full offload of the virtual switching data plane

Up to 60M pps data delivery to virtualized applications

100Gbps switching throughput

Configurable match processing for L2, L3, L4

VLAN / QinQ / VxLAN support

1000 megaflows, millions of individual flows

Based on standard OVS and DPDK

Extensive actions

VirtIO / live migration support

Load balancing

Port mirroring


Link™ Virtualization Performance Demo

Napatech’s hardware-based OVS offload solution offers a 6X gain compared to OVS DPDK and 60X gain compared to OVS kernel in performance, while reducing the CPU cycle consumption by as much as 90% compared to alternatives. While kernel based or user space (DPDK) versions of OVS are incredibly CPU intensive with network intensive workloads, Napatech’s SmartNICs and Virtualization software accelerate OVS and provide much better CPU efficiency, lower complexity, enhanced scalability and increased network performance.

Tested with 64byte frames, 1024 megaflows, 8 million individual flows.

For virtualized application hosting, OVS is the default solution for demultiplexing traffic from the network to, from, and between applications running in VMs or containers. Software-only implementations of OVS, though, fail to meet the performance and scale requirements of virtualized applications. Additionally, running OVS in software, which is the standard practice, uses significant CPU resources simply for directing traffic, stealing those CPU resources from revenue generating applications.

Custom Workload Acceleration

Data processing workloads, like encryption, regular expression matching and compression, can be extremely compute intensive when performed in software and require a tremendous amount of CPU cores. By offloading these functions to accelerated SmartNICs, it is possible to significantly increase the workload performance and free CPU cores to support more virtualized applications on the same server.

Napatech’s hardware offload solution utilizes the SmartNIC programmability to allow custom workloads to be implemented in an inline or look-aside model.

To find out more see: Napatech Hardware Offload Solution.

VM-to-VM Monitoring

VM-to-VM Monitoring provides insight into both North-South and East-West data in virtualized servers without consuming CPU cores.

Napatech’s VM-to-VM monitoring solution can replicate traffic in hardware based in specific ports or flow-based rules and send the mirrored traffic to either another VM or an external analytics solution.

To find out more see: Napatech VM-to-VM Monitoring Solution.

Compatible Napatech FPGA-based SmartNICs

The Link™ Virtualization Software is available for our family of FPGA-based SmartNICs.

NT200A02 SmartNIC

2×1/10G, 8x10G, 2×10/25G, 4×10/25G, 2x40G, 2x100G

The NT200A02 SmartNIC is a full height, half length QSFP28 PCIe card based on a powerful FPGA-based architecture which enables 8x10G, 2×10/25G, 2x40G or 2x100G applications. The solution offers flexibility to create high-performance solutions in server platforms for supporting network infrastructures up to 100G and and can be reconfigured to support specific SmartNIC functionality. The NT200A02 is available in both a self-contained cooling and passive cooling version.


NT50B01 SmartNIC

2×1/10G, 2×10/25G

The NT50B01 SmartNIC is a low-profile SFP28 PCIe card specifically engineered to reduce footprint without compromising on performance. The design delivers best-of-breed reliability and includes a proprietary full body heatsink developed to ensure optimal thermal performance for all critical components. Based on a powerful FPGA-based architecture, the Link™ NT50B01 enables 10/25G applications and can be reconfigured to support specific SmartNIC functionality.

Resources and downloads

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Find out if the Napatech Link™ Virtualization Software is right for you.

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