Camarillo, Calif. — November 10, 2014 – Nallatech, a leading supplier of high-performance FPGA solutions, announces the availability of the OpenPOWER CAPI Developer Kit for IBM POWER8, enabling system acceleration and performance that is well beyond what has been previously available. The system enables Nallatech’s 385 CAPI FPGA accelerator to attach to the IBM POWER8 processor’s coherency fabric and coherently access up to 1TB of system memory.
The Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (CAPI) on POWER8 systems provides a high-performance solution for the implementation of client-specific, computation-heavy algorithms on an FPGA. This innovation can replace either application programs running on a core or custom acceleration implementations attached via I/O.
“CAPI removes the overhead and complexity of the I/O subsystem, allowing an accelerator to operate as part of an application, said Brad McCredie, IBM Fellow and Vice President of Power Development. “The solution enables higher system performance with a much smaller programming investment, enabling hybrid computing to be successful across a much broader range of applications. This is an exciting example of how the OpenPOWER Foundation is delivering innovative solutions to the data analytics market.”
IT organizations need to provide increased system performance as their workloads grow with demands for big data analysis, social media applications, continuous customer connectivity, and business-specific applications. Increases in processor performance alone cannot satisfy the workload demands, so solutions must also come from system-level advances such as hybrid computing, processing engine customization, and open platform development that enables cross-company innovation.
Nallatech’s 385 card is the first supported CAPI FPGA accelerator card. This CAPI FPGA accelerator card features a high-performance Stratix® V FPGA in a ‘low profile’ PCIe form-factor card. The card also has twin 10GbE SFP+ ports, allowing direct network attachment for low latency, in-the-pipe processing.
“The 385 was designed from the ground up to be a high-performance, cost-effective, accelerator platform, capable of offloading processor-intensive tasks.” said Allan Cantle, president and founder of Nallatech. “It features a simple yet powerful architecture ideally suited for algorithm-acceleration applications including Monte Carlo algorithms, key-value stores, financial and medical algorithms.”
The overall value proposition of CAPI FPGA is that it significantly reduces development time for new algorithm implementations and improves performance of applications by connecting the processor to hardware accelerators and allowing them to communicate in the same language (eliminating intermediaries such as I/O drivers). Because of CAPI FPGA peer-to-peer coherent relationship with the POWER8 processors, data intensive programs are easily offloaded to the FPGA, freeing the POWER8 processor to run other parts of the applications in parallel.
“Nallatech’s CAPI accelerator development kit provides users with a powerful platform to harness the acceleration benefits of FPGAs,” said Mike Strickland, director of the compute and storage business unit at Altera. “When combined with the Altera OpenCL SDK, we enable a large software developer community to offload POWER8 applications to FPGAs in a cache-coherent way, without needing to have specific knowledge of the underlying hardware”.
Altera plans to support the CAPI Developer Kit with its OpenCL, the open standard for parallel programming across heterogeneous computing environments. This will enable designers to easily implement Nallatech CAPI FPGA designs to increase performance.
The 385, with CAPI attached, has been used as a base for flash memory expansion in the case of the IBM Data Engine for NoSQL – Power Systems Edition. This innovative product gives the system low-latency access to 40 TB of data in flash memory through the CAPI-connected solution. For more information about Nallatech CAPI FPGA technology as part of the OpenPOWER CAPI Developer Kit for IBM POWER8, visit www.nallatech.com/capi.
Nallatech, a subsidiary of Molex, is a leading supplier of accelerated-computing solutions. Nallatech has deployed several of the world’s largest FPGA hybrid compute clusters, and is focused on delivering scalable solutions that deliver high performance per watt, per dollar.