Xilinx is expanding its push into “adaptive and intelligent computing” with today’s launch of its Alveo U50 datacenter accelerator.

The card is the industry’s first low-profile adaptable accelerator with PCIe Gen 4 support, designed to supercharge a broad range of critical compute, network, and storage workloads on one reconfigurable platform.

It can be used in applications such as machine learning inference, video transcoding, data analytics, computational storage, electronic trading, and financial risk modeling.

The Alveo U50 provides customers with a programmable low-profile and low-power accelerator platform built for scale-out architectures and domain-specific acceleration of any server deployment, on-premise, in the cloud, and at the edge.

To meet the challenges of emerging dynamic workloads, such as cloud microservices, Alveo U50 delivers 10 times to 20 times improvements in throughput, latency, and power efficiency when compared with graphics processing units (GPUs) or central processing units (CPUs).

For accelerated networking and storage workloads, the U50 card helps developers identify and eliminate latency and data movement bottlenecks by moving compute closer to the data, according to San Jose, California-based Xilinx.

Above: Xilinx Alveo U50 Hero

Image Credit: Xilinx

Powered by the Xilinx UltraScale+ architecture, the Alveo U50 card is the first in the Alveo portfolio to be packaged in a half-height, half-length form factor and low 75-watt power envelope.

The card features high-bandwidth memory (HBM2), 100 gigabit-per-second (100 Gbps) networking connectivity, and support for the PCIe Gen 4 and CCIX interconnects. By fitting into standard PCIe server slots and using one-third the power, the Alveo U50 expands the scope in which adaptable acceleration can be deployed to unlock dramatic throughput and latency improvements for demanding compute, network, and storage workloads.

The 8GB of HBM2 deliver over 400 Gbps data transfer speeds, and the QSFP ports provide up to 100 Gbps network connectivity. The high-speed networking I/O also supports advanced applications like NVMe-oF solutions (NVM Express over Fabrics), disaggregated computational storage, and specialized financial services applications.

Based on Xilinx’s field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technology, the Alveo U50 brings programmability, flexibility, and high throughput and low latency performance advantages to any server deployment.

Unlike fixed architecture alternatives, the software and hardware programmability of the Alveo U50 allows customers to meet ever-changing demands and optimize application performance as workloads and algorithms continue to evolve, Xilinx said.

Alveo U50 can be used for:

  • Deep learning inference acceleration (speech translation): Delivers up to 25 times lower latency, 10 times higher throughput, and significantly improved power efficiency per node compared to GPU-only for speech translation performance
  • Data analytics acceleration (database query): Running the TPC-H Query benchmark, Alveo U50 delivers 4 times higher throughput per hour and reduces operational costs by 3 times compared to in-memory CPU
  • Computational storage acceleration (compression): Delivers 20 times more compression/decompression throughput, faster Hadoop and big data analytics, and over 30% lower cost per node compared to CPU-only nodes
  • Network acceleration (electronic trading): Delivers 20 times lower latency and sub-500ns trading time compared to CPU-only latency of 10us
  • Financial modeling (grid computing): Running the Monte Carlo simulation, Alveo U50 delivers 7 times greater power efficiency compared to GPU-only performance for a faster time to insight, deterministic latency, and reduced operational costs

“Ever-growing demands on the datacenter are pushing existing infrastructure to its limit, driving the need for adaptable solutions that can optimize performance across a broad range of workloads and extend the lifecycle of existing infrastructure, ultimately reducing TCO,” said Salil Raje, executive vice president and general manager for the datacenter group at Xilinx, in a statement. “The new Alveo U50 brings an optimized form factor and unprecedented performance and adaptability to datacenter workloads, and we continue to build out solution stacks with a growing ecosystem of application partners to deliver previously unthinkable capabilities to a range of industries.”

The company cited support from Advanced Micro Devices, IBM, and Western Digital.

“With the smaller design and advanced features of the Alveo U50, Xilinx is well-positioned to expand the markets for acceleration with configurable logic,” said Karl Freund, senior analyst for HPC and deep learning at Moor Insights & Strategy. “The new Alveo U50 should allow them to break through the market noise with demonstrated and dramatic performance advantages in high-growth use cases.”

The Alveo U50 is sampling now with OEM system qualifications in process, and general availability is slated for Fall 2019. Xilinx will be showcasing the Alveo U50 and other product demonstrations in Booth 313 at Flash Memory Summit (FMS) 2019, which takes place August 6 to August 8 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.