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Nvidia launches the Quantum-2 InfiniBand platform

The Quantum-2 InfiniBand platform, introduced this week, includes software, a BlueField-3 DPU, a Quantum-2 switch, and a ConnectX-7 network adapter.

Nvidia has launched its latest high-performance computing hardware, the Quantum-2 InfiniBand networking platform. The 400Gbps platform includes the BlueField-3 data processing unit (DPU), Quantum-2 switch, ConnectX-7 network adapter, and software supporting the entire architecture.

The Quantum-2 line, introduced this week at Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference, is for Nvidia customers that perform large-scale data processing tasks in data centers and research institutions. The technology delivers faster processing by shifting some workloads from CPUs to DPUs and GPUs.

According to Gilad Shainer, senior vice president of marketing at Nvidia, moving back-end workloads like security away from the CPU makes for a more secure and higher-performing network architecture.

With double the network speed and triple the number of network ports, the new line marks a significant step up from Nvidia's Quantum-1. The Quantum-2 switch is available in configurations up to 2,048 400Gbps ports, which is five times the switching power of the Quantum-1.

Gartner analyst Alan Priestley said Nvidia's use of a GPU to accelerate parts of the workload is unique compared with competitors like Intel and Cisco.

For Priestley, the most significant part of the launch is the BlueField-3 DPU, which has a GPU next to it for running specific network analytics. Between the DPU and GPU, the CPU is left with doing what it does best: processing business workloads.

"[Nvidia is] really moving toward disaggregating the server and taking the networking workloads, the security workloads, and other bits and pieces onto a separate processor," Priestley said.

Shainer said customers would realize the best performance by deploying the entire platform. However, companies can deploy each component separately in their existing architectures. Quantum-2 is available from system vendors such as Atos, Dell, HPE, IBM, Inspur and Lenovo.

Madelaine Millar is a news writer covering network technology at TechTarget. She has previously written about science and technology for MIT's Lincoln Laboratory and the Khoury College of Computer Science, as well as covering community news for Boston Globe Media. She is a graduate of Northeastern University, and originally hails from Missoula, Mont.

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