Storage with Data Processing Units

Secure disaggregation of high-performance scale-out flash storage using open standards.

I had the opportunity to meet with Eric Hayes, CEO, Toby Owen, V.P. Products, Jai Menon, Chief Scientist, and Brian McCloskey, Chief Revenue Officer of Fungible.

Fungible invented the data processing unit (DPU) as a way to build data centers in a cost-efficient and performant way. From Fungible's perspective, the infrastructure is there to deliver software. Increasing infrastructure efficiency will increase profits.

Data centers have been inefficient for decades. Siloed resources create inaccessible capacity and additional overhead as independent siloes cannot be managed efficiently. Silos have proliferated due to the unique needs of each application; however, workloads have grown more data-centric. This has driven more infrastructure spending as generalized hardware has become less effective meeting the needs of modern, data-centric workloads.

Fungible's vision for the data center is composable, disaggregated infrastructure with GPU pools, CPU server pools, SSD storage pools, and HDD storage pools. By disaggregating resources into pools and composing them on demand to meet the resource needs of applications, Fungible is able to access previously unaccessible capacity.

Pooled storage has been used to eliminate local storage silos; however, it is usually implemented at the expense of performance. The Fungible Storage Cluster provides the benefits of pooled storage without sacrificing performance. With Fungible's Storage Initiator, NVMe/TCP is even easier to adopt, easier to deploy, and even more powerful.

Fungible designed its DPU for data-centric workloads to deliver the highest performance and most efficient implementation of the TCP stack. The NVMe/TCP open standard for enabling disaggregation delivers 2.5 to 3.5 times more IOPS, reduces latency by up to 75%, and cuts CPU load per I/O in half over iSCSI.

The Fungible Storage Initiator solution is delivered on Fungible’s FC200, FC100 and FC50 cards. Each of these cards is powered by the S1 Fungible DPU, and a single FC200 card is capable of delivering a record breaking 2.5 million IOPS to its host. These cards, and the Fungible Storage Cluster, are managed by Fungible Compos, which orchestrates the composition of disaggregated data center resources on demand.

Fungible’s Storage Initiator (SI) solution offers a hardware accelerated, high performance approach to disaggregating storage from servers. The SI cards are available in a standard PCIe form-factor, allowing effortless deployment into existing servers. The cards manage all NVMe/TCP communication for the host, and in turn present native NVMe devices to the host operating system using standard NVMe drivers. This approach enables interoperability with operating systems that do not natively support NVMe/TCP. When paired with a Fungible FS1600 or other non-Fungible NVMe/TCP storage targets, the SI cards enhance the performance, security and efficiency of those environments as well as providing the world’s highest performance implementation of standards-based NVMe/TCP.

The benefits of the Fungible Storage Initiator solution include:

  1. Simplicity – Allows modern data center compute servers to finally get rid of ALL local storage, even boot drives, allowing the complete disaggregation of storage from servers.

  2. Security – Seamless, high performance, multi-tenant encryption of data from the moment it is first transmitted over the network through its lifetime retention on the Fungible storage target.

  3. Flexibility – Expands the usability of NVMe/TCP to a broader set of customer environments, even those without native NVMe/TCP support.

  4. Savings and Performance – Offloads the processing of NVMe/TCP from the host, freeing up approximately 30% of the general purpose CPU cores to run applications. This provides significant cost and environmental savings to customers.