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Virtualization Solutions

Smarter Data Delivery in virtual environments

Virtualization has enabled enterprise applications and services to migrate to the cloud; the next challenge is migrating networking and storage functions. An example is the Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) initiative in the Telecom Services market. The key challenge for appliance vendors is delivering the same performance and efficiency in a virtual environment. While many functions can be executed in software at acceptable performance, there is a trade-off between the flexibility that software can provide and the number of CPU cores and servers required to deliver the same level of performance. This ultimately impacts cost-efficiency and the bottom line.

Napatech FPGA SmartNICs enable multiple acceleration solutions

Napatech is addressing these challenges with high-performance solutions that are flexible, cost-efficient, and designed specifically for virtual environments. The Napatech SmartNIC solution is developed specifically for NFV and can be deployed in any server at any point in the network. Based on a Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), the Napatech SmartNIC solution can be re-configured allowing re-use and thereby improved total cost of ownership.

Key Benefits

Support multiple solutions on same hardware


Common Napatech SmartNIC solution hardware based on programmable FPGA technology allows multiple solutions to be supported. A solution is specified in a FPGA image which can be remotely downloaded to the Napatech SmartNIC solution on-the-fly.

Support multiple data rates at multiple network locations

The dual-port Napatech SmartNIC solution is designed to support multiple data rates including 8x1Gbps, 4x10Gbps, 8×25 Gbps, 2×40 Gbps, 2×50 Gbps and 2×100 Gbps. Upgrading to a new data rate is made possible by the ability to download a new FPGA image with the correct data rate to the Napatech SmartNIC solution. This allows the same NIC to be used in multiple locations in the network, reducing the variety of products and easing maintenance and operations.

Extend hardware lifetime and improve TCO

With proprietary appliances, adding new capacity, functionality and capabilities means upgrading to a new appliance with all the cost, resources and time that this involves. By leveraging a hardware platform that can be upgraded on-the-fly, it is possible to re-use existing hardware, procedures and trained resources. This extends the lifetime of your infrastructure, reducing capital expenditure needs and operational costs for a combined reduction in total cost-of-ownership.

Enable centralized automation and management

With a common hardware infrastructure that can support multiple virtual services, applications and functions, centralized automation and management is easier. It reduces the number of exceptions and dependencies that need to be taken into consideration. The remote programmability and re-configurability of FPGAs also enables centralized management and orchestration of supported functionality in the common hardware in support of different service chains.


Solutions for Accelerating Virtual Functions

Virtual Switch acceleration solution

To allow optimal flexibility, virtual switching in NFV environments is preferably performed in software. However, achieving acceptable performance with virtual switching solutions is a challenge. Alternative solutions improve performance by bypassing the virtual switch or fully off-loading the virtual switch to a hardware accelerated NIC. But this approach can compromise the virtual function mobility and flexibility, which ultimately affects the ability to optimize resources and thereby reduces the intended cost-efficiency.

Napatech provides a range of virtual switch acceleration solutions all designed to provide higher performance using fewer CPU cores. This ensures that expensive server resources are used for revenue generating virtual functions rather than data delivery.

To find out more see: Napatech SmartNIC Solutions Virtual Switch Acceleration.

Hardware Offload Solutions

Data processing, like encryption and compression, can be extremely intensive when performed in software and require a tremendous amount of CPU cores. By offloading these functions to accelerated NIC hardware it is possible to significantly increase performance and free CPU cores to support more virtual functions on the same server.

Napatech Hardware Offload Solutions utilize the programmability of the Napatech SmartNIC solution to allow dedicated encryption and compression solutions to be implemented in a co-processor model to several virtual functions. In this manner, the Napatech SmartNIC solution can be configured to a data input/output solution, a compression acceleration solution or an encryption acceleration solution depending on service needs or the data center architecture.

Tests have shown that hardware offload performance can be improved up to 40 times compared to execution in software resulting in significant cost-savings and greater efficiency.

To find out more see: Napatech Hardware Offload Solution.

VM-to-VM Monitoring Solution

Based on the Napatech Virtual Switch Acceleration Solution, the VM-to-VM Monitoring solution provides insight into both North-South and East-West data traffic in the server without consuming CPU cores.

Since the Napatech Virtual Switch Acceleration Solution sees all data, it is possible to replicate traffic in hardware and send the OVS mirror traffic to either a virtual appliance or an external analytics solution.

In contrast to alternative solutions based on virtual taps and OVS mirroring in software, no CPU cores or memory are consumed making the VM-to-VM Monitoring Solution a highly effective way of monitoring virtual traffic.

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

Additional Virtualization Resources

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