Intel has been pushing an IPU portfolio. This includes both designs with its traditional FPGA-based solutions that we would generally consider “exotic” as well as solutions such as its Mount Evans IPU we would call more of a DPU. A few months ago at Intel Architecture Day 2021 we learned about one of these next-generation “exotic” solutions called “Oak Springs Canyon” or the C6000X and that is what is being disclosed today along with a partnership with Intel and Ruijie networks.
Intel Oak Springs Canyon
For those who are unfamiliar with the Intel Oak Springs Canyon IPU, here is the slide for it:
One can see that there are two 100Gbps ports along with a PCIe Gen4 x16 connector for connectivity. We also get an Intel Agilex FPGA to handle the networking with custom programmable logic along with a Xeon. From what we understand the Xeon here is a Xeon D part. The card itself is made by Silicom.
For those who are unaware, China is a large market for FPGAs. As China’s largest server vendor, Inspur actually has teams dedicated to programming custom FGPA logic for its customers, like Ruijie and others. That is a bit different than we would typically see Dell or HPE that will usually rely upon external firms to deliver custom logic for customers.
Overall, this is a super exciting card. We cannot wait to see Oak Springs Canyon, hopefully by the time we see Ice Lake-D actually launch (although it was mentioned at the Ice Lake launch making it confusing.)
For those that need a primer on the differences between these next-generation NICs, here is our DPU vs SmartNIC and the STH NIC Continuum Framework and video:
Hopefully one of these days we will get to test an Oak Springs Canyon IPU along with some of the other newer-generation options.