At VMworld 2019, STH stopped at QNAP’s booth. Our Editor-in-Chief Patrick sent me pictures of something I found interesting, the QNAP QuCPE appliance. The QNAP QuCPE is designed to be an edge server for providing network functionality as well as a bit of edge inferencing.
QNAP QuCPE Spotted at VMworld 2019
Based on the QNE OS, networking and CPE focused OS from QNAP, the QuCPE is a 1U chassis with six 1GbE network ports. There is even a LCD status display, something we did not see on the pfSense SG-4860 1U appliance for example.
The QNAP QuCPE is powered by an Intel Xeon D CPU with QuickAssist. What is more, the solution supports OpenVINO. Beyond SD-WAN, virtualization, and Kubernetes container deployment capabilities, the QNE-based solution has a built-in video surveillance app. QNAP’s goal is to do video analytics powered by OpenVINO at edge locations.
We should hear more about the capabilities once this unit hits general availability.
A Small Twist and iEi Puzzle Connection
What is more, the QNAP QuCPE appliance had a bit of a different twist to it. We compared the unit seen at VMworld with the unit pictured in the original press release, and they were quite different.
Here, the QNAP QuCPE in the original release appears to be based on the IEI Puzzle design. IEI is the parent company to QNAP, so this should not be shocking. The IEI Puzzle family was sitting next to the QuCPE.
With the IEI Puzzle, one can choose between CPUs from Intel, AMD, NXP, Marvell, and Marvell (formerly Cavium.) Beyond the CPU choices, one can also add on flexible I/O modules powered by Intel, Mellanox, Broadcom, and even Aquantia ranging from 1GbE to 25GbE speeds and with different port configurations. The ability to use a single chassis and mix both the CPU as well as the networking I/O to make exactly the solution one wants.
The above was the first AMD EPYC 3000 series system we saw. We have a piece on this: Piecing Together the iEi Puzzle AMD EPYC 3000 Spotted in the Wild. Although we have reviewed a ton of products in this category, including Supermicro’s entire EPYC 3000 line, we have yet to be able to get a Puzzle.
The idea behind QNE and the QNAP QuCPE makes a lot of sense. QNAP needs to move beyond storage and into providing edge solutions for the SMBs that use their products. This is one step in that journey providing a unique hardware and software combination. What is more, if this is successful, we suspect QNAP can tap into other IEI Puzzle variants to make new solutions easily.