Author: Zivan Ori, CEO & Co-Founder
Before founding E8 Storage, I joined a newly founded Israeli startup (Stratoscale) to build a software defined architecture designed for ARM servers. At the time, this was rather challenging because while many companies were talking about creating ARM based servers, few were executing so progress has been slow and limited.
The promise of ARM servers was to become a lower cost, yet powerful, alternative to x86 processors for targeted workloads. Rather than adding performance by scaling up the speed and complexity of a finite set of processing cores as with the x86 architecture, ARM servers employs many smaller, less sophisticated, low power processors that share processing tasks across hundreds of processors. ARM processors have been at the core of the smartphone evolution and are also powering the IoT revolution.
ARM processors deliver strong performance with lower power consumption and footprint than x86 processors, while supporting a RISC instruction set that can be easily tailored to specific applications or workloads. This makes ARM processors ideally suited for integrated system-on-chip (SoC) applications.
Fast forward to E8 Storage
E8 Storage has pioneered a new approach to storage, designing a new architecture to unlock the performance of shared NVMe storage. Our NVMe-over-Fabrics (NVMe-oF) architecture employs a host-side E8 Agent which allows us to scale out performance by offloading 90% of the data path operations to the host. With each E8 Agent having direct access to the NVMe SSDs in the E8 Storage appliance, we scale up performance with each host server accessing storage.
This approach has many benefits, with stellar performance and system resiliency, but also a challenge or two. One of which is that several of our customers need every bit of processing power they have to accelerate their application performance. We knew we needed to find a way to offload the E8 Agent to another layer in the server ecosystem. This brings us full circle to ARM processing, and integrated SoC solutions targeted for high performance storage applications.
The recent introduction of Smart NICs (network cards with an integrated ARM CPU) has allowed E8 Storage to embed our software into the Smart NIC rather than running it on one or more cores of the x86 processors of the application servers. This integrated solution delivers the proven high performance and low latency of E8 Storage systems while adding dedicated computing power in a low-profile PCI form factor. This approach also opens up the door to support multiple operating systems and even virtual environments seamlessly. Upon reflection, it’s interesting that years after my initial investigations into ARM servers, E8 Storage has delivered what is perhaps the world’s first ARM server application: NVMe virtualization over 100Gb networks.
Building Solutions with Our Partners
E8 Storage has partnered with industry leaders to integrate the E8 Agent into Smart NIC cards as the first integrated ARM processor solution for storage.
Come see our joint solutions in action as we join our partners at these shows:
● ARM TechCon, Oct. 16th-18th at the San Jose Convention Center, booth 216-5 with Broadcom
● SuperComputing18, Nov. 12th-15th at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center, booth 3207 with Mellanox