Liqid, Broadcom jointly develop turnkey PCIe 4.0 fabric platform

July 15, 2020
The companies' PCIe Gen 4.0 Fabric Reference Design Kit includes all the gear needed to get started with application testing and validation.
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Liqid, provider of a comprehensive composable infrastructure platform, this month announced its collaboration with global cloud and data center infrastructure expert Broadcom to deliver the companies' PCI-Express (PCIe) Gen 4.0 Fabric Reference Design Kit (RDK).

To drive data center adoption of the high-speed PCIe connectivity, the two companies have built a managed-fabric solution powered by Liqid Command Center orchestration software and the Broadcom PEX88000 PCIe Gen 4.0 switches to enable research and development departments to quickly evaluate and accelerate deployment of PCIe Gen 4.0 solutions in the marketplace for next-generation data center applications.

Edge and 5G computing, AI+ML workloads, high-value HPC applications, and composable infrastructure deployments are all use cases that benefit significantly from high-speed data transfers and low latency PCIe Gen 4.0 solutions,” observed Jas Tremblay, VP and GM of the Data Center Storage Group at Broadcom.

Tremblay added, “Through our joint efforts, Liqid and Broadcom empower companies to deliver PCIe Gen 4.0 solutions that offer scalable performance, composable architecture, ease of management, and superior power efficiency for applications driving innovation across vertical markets.”

The companies note that PCIe Gen 4.0 technology doubles the throughput over its Gen 3.0 iteration, achieving bandwidth of up to 256 GT/s per port, substantially reducing transfer time for big data applications. Broadcom capitalizes on these performance gains with its PEX88000 PCIe Gen 4.0 family of switches.

Building on the Broadcom PCIe Gen 3.0 switches, which set the Gen 3.0 performance benchmark, the PEX88000 series dramatically increases performance and reduces latency, enabling a rack-scale fabric solution for PCIe Gen 4.0 that is high-performing, scalable, composable and highly available.

To meet demand for quickly validating the concepts and successfully bringing PCIe Gen 4.0 solutions to market, Liqid and Broadcom have collaborated to deliver a comprehensive, feature-rich PCIe Gen 4.0 development platform. The platform is a purpose-built, turnkey solution to enable rapid prototyping, development, and qualification of solutions leveraging intelligent PCIe Gen 4.0 fabric.

The RDK fabric management stack leverages Liqid's Command Center composable infrastructure software to deliver accelerated productivity, maximum hardware flexibility and ease of use. Users can begin test and development by writing software against Liqid’s RESTful API or using the intuitive user interface.

The PCIe Gen 4.0 Fabric RDK includes all the gear needed to get started with application testing and validation, including:

  • 1x Fabric management node
  • Liqid Command Center fabric and orchestration software
  • 1x 24-Port PCIe Gen 4.0 fabric switch
  • 1x PCIe Gen 4.0 expansion chassis
  • 2x PCIe Gen 4.0 HBAs
  • 17x Mini-SAS HD cables

Users may add the desired number of host nodes, GPUs, NVMe SSDs and NICs to available 24 x4 PCIe Gen4 ports for their analysis. The companies note the Fabric RDK kit can be cascaded with additional RDKs to expand the topology. All components are preconfigured to work out-of-the-box by connecting to power and ethernet.

The PCIe Gen 4.0 RDK from Liqid and Broadcom ships in a pre-racked configuration or with the option to be rack mountable. The RDK includes all necessary cabling, documentation, reference code, and OS images to get started in minutes.

“To take full advantage of PCIe Gen 4.0 solutions, the industry needs reliable, turnkey platforms on which to effectively and swiftly validate new devices and applications,” commented Sumit Puri, CEO and cofounder, Liqid. “We are pleased to work with the PCIe industry leader Broadcom to deliver a comprehensive RDK platform that can enable new Gen 4.0 products to market quickly and accelerate mission-critical data center operations across public and private sectors.”

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