Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Road to Arkville

For over a year now, five engineers have applied their passion on the journey of birthing a new product. Arkville is a big deal for Atomic Rules. Coming 18 months after our first product, the UDP Offload Engine, Arkville will be a whole new bag. We're betting that there is significant value at the intersection of two key technologies: DPDK and AXI.

We dont expect this to be an easy journey. Why? Let's take DPDK and AXI one by one.

DPDK is the de facto Linux Kernel Bypass mechanism evolving now for over a decade for use when you need to do useful work on multiple cores without the kernel stack getting in the way. Most DPDK users work with merchant ASIC-based NICs or virtualized NICs. Despite the "Data Plane" in DPDK, not all users see it as just an I/O mechanism. There's more to it.

Also over the past decade, AXI, a proper sub-set of AMBA, has emerged in the FPGA world as a standardized hardware interface and API. If you are building a Green-box fleet of RTL accelerators to go inside your FPGA; you probably want to use AXI for the plumbing. If not, you are probably writing gaskets with a throughput and latency tax.

Atomic Rules understands that both the DPDK GPP software world and the AXI RTL gateware world are two different things. And experts in one are seldom experts in the other. The guiding light for Arkville design has been to take the established DPDK APIs and ABIs and implement a DPDK- and AXI- aware packet conduit between GPP and FPGA. Conceptually abstract, but physically (at product launch in May) to be PCIe. We're excited about all of this, and if you are too, please get in touch. Since you made it this far, here's a hidden link on our site about Arkville in alpha-testing.