TECH SUPPLIER Jan 2020 - Technology Assessment - Doc # US45942820

Smart NIC Semiconductors Enabling Smart Cloud Infrastructures — To Be or Not to Be Programmable?

By: Ben SheenResearch Director, Enabling Technologies: Networking & Communications Infrastructure


This IDC study examines various enabling semiconductor technologies used in smart NICs and why the smart NIC market has high growth rate. The NIC market has shifted toward a new generation of adapters capable of onboard intelligent processing to offload network server processors in the future network infrastructures. The study analyzes diverse vendors and their smart NIC architectures based on ASICs, FPGAs, or embedded general-purpose processor cores SoCs with different levels of programmability. Also smart NIC selection and adoption strategies considering the needs of cloud service and telecommunication service providers are presented.

"The smart NICs have evolved and become capable of freeing up more services from the host microprocessors in the cloud including storage virtualization," said Ben Sheen, research director, Wired and Wireless Networking and Communications Infrastructure. "If there is lack of programmability, traditional NICs with intelligent features may not be considered as smart NICs capable of realizing SD-WAN to serve the multi-access edge computing (MEC) for 5G cellular infrastructure."



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