100G Ethernet

Mellanox Offers 100GigE CDN Reference Architecture

As long as more and more video is delivered "over the top," so the companies that deliver streaming video will need to find faster, more efficient delivery mechanisms -- and the more open the system, the better.

That's why Mellanox Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: MLNX) has introduced a reference architecture for 100GigEthernet content distribution network (CDN) applications, all based on white box servers and open source software.

Are there that many companies who need 100GigE CDNs? Maybe only a few, but the ones that do -- they really, really do. They're rushing forward and the odds are good they'll end up pulling others along behind them in their wakes.

Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) is a case in point, Mellanox marketing VP Kevin Deierling told Light Reading. Netflix traditionally distributed its content through Amazon Web Services Inc. but has decided it can perform many CDN functions more efficiently itself, and to that end is establishing colocation facilities with its biggest ISP partners.

Netflix's Open Connect Platform is not based on Mellanox's reference architecture but it is using Mellanox ConnectX-4 100GigE NICs, along with servers running the FreeBSD operating system. Open Connect can now provide as many as 100,000 concurrent streams out of a single server.

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"Look at Facebook's goals," Deierling suggested. "They intend to innovate faster, at the hyperscale level. They plan on introducing new services at the lowest cost possible." Meanwhile, the telcos are looking to install open-system CDNs of their own, he noted.

Hence the introduction of the reference architecture. It is based on servers equipped with Mellanox's 100GigE adapters, its Spectrum family of line-rate switches and LinkX cables. All the servers are open source, as is all the software, Deierling said. In addition the reference architecture provides details on 10/25 and 40/50GigE platforms based on Newisys servers.

The CDN platform is designed to stream video reliably and scales from hundreds of thousands to millions of concurrent subscribers and total bandwidth of 100 Gbit/s out of a single box, so maintaining a small footprint, according to Mellanox.

— Brian Santo, Senior Editor, Components, T&M, Light Reading

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