A Mere 10 million IOPS! How Can You Live Like That?
NVIDIA’s Bluefield SmartNIC has blown through the previous record for throughput on network attached storage, with data transfer between two HP Proliant servers hitting up to 41.5 million IOPS. That is miles ahead of the 2 million IOPS Intel’s Optane P5800X drive offers and over several times higher than the previous record of 13.8 million IOPS which Intel set a while back. NVIDIA’s triumph is made somewhat more impressive by the fact they do not have complete control over all of the hardware used in the tests they performed.
The idea that network attached storage is now significantly faster than the best local storage may seem bizarre but it is indeed the case now, not that you will be able to run this sort of thing in your home any time soon. SmartNICs are a step above the 10Gbps NIC you now see in high end motherboards, they have their own onboard CPU to help with traffic control and a relatively high end one at at that. As is now tradition, it is possible that NVIDIA could have seen higher throughput as Bluefield saturated the 400Gb/s bandwidth the physical wiring could provide.
If you do happen to have a data centre and are a little green with envy keep an eye out for VMware’s Project Monterey in the coming year, as that is touted to likely be the first readily available product which offers SmartNIC connectivity Of course, supply chains being what they are right now, it may not be all that easy to source.
Nvidia’s benchmark saw a pair of HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen 10 Plus servers hooked up with a dual-100GB ethernet Bluefield aboard each, in a configuration that offered 400Gb/s wire bandwidth between initiator and target.