Fungible plans to shake up the data centre infrastructure landscape

Founded in 2015 by Pradeep Sindhu and Bertrand Serlet, Fungible was born on a vision to radically change how data centres are deployed, managed and controlled at scale. With over $310 million raised, the company has defined a new approach based on the Data Processing Unit (DPU), a new kind of processor dedicated to certain tasks offloaded from the CPU. This DPU now exists as the 3rd processing unit within the servers today, alongside CPU and GPU.

A recent session during The IT Press Tour helped us to understand the company’s vision of this new data centre.

The firm preaches composability and disaggregation. In other words, the company separates the elements of devices, and builds pools to group and unify them around specific needs or workloads. This holds similarities to NVMe-oF networks, and the team strongly believes that TCP over Ethernet is the transport of choice for such a model. The composability dimension, or the capability to unify virtually components, works at the storage or server level. Architects can build a logic storage pool from dispersed storage devices, and even define virtual servers from processor, memory, networks and storage from various elements within multiple racks. The strategy for these early products from Fungible is dedicated to storage.

The company delivered its first product a few months ago, with the FS1600 flash storage array being a storage cluster powered by its F1 DPU. Physically, this array is a 2U chassis split vertically in 2 machines each equipped by a DPU, Ethernet ports, memory, SSD and power supply. In total, the FS1600 embeds 24 hot pluggable NVMe SSD, for a total of 70TB, and is able to produce 13M input/output operations per second (IOPS) at 120us of latency and a throughput of 75 GB/s. Having this offload engine within the external shared array allows for functions like thin provisioning, erasure coding, replication, snapshots and clones, encryption, compression and quality of service (QoS) to free CPU cycles.

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The more recent product announced by Fungible is the storage acceleration card, an initiator adapter, embedded as a connectivity card in hosts to connect to the Ethernet network via TCP. This card is attached to the PCIe Gen 4 bus and uses the Fungible S1 DPU. Existing in two models with 50, 100 and 200GE, the card can deliver 2.3M IOPS per client.

Fungible has started to deliver its vision with breakthrough products, and we’ll see how the market will react to these initiatives.