How NVIDIA EGX Is Forming Central Nervous System of Global Industries

by Justin Boitano

Massive change across every industry is being driven by the rising adoption of IoT sensors, including cameras for seeing, microphones for hearing, and a range of other smart devices that help enterprises perceive and understand what’s happening in the physical world.

The amount of data being generated at the edge is growing exponentially. The only way to process this vast data in real time is by placing servers near the point of action and by harnessing the immense computational power of GPUs.

The enterprise data center of the future won’t have 10,000 servers in one location, but one or more servers across 10,000 different locations. They’ll be in office buildings, factories, warehouses, cell towers, schools, stores and banks. They’ll detect traffic jams and forest fires, route traffic safely and prevent crime.

By placing a network of distributed servers where data is being streamed from hundreds of sensors, enterprises can use networks of data centers at the edge to drive immediate action with AI. Additionally, by processing data at the edge, privacy concerns are mitigated and data sovereignty concerns are put to rest.

Edge servers lack the physical security infrastructure that enterprise IT takes for granted. And companies lack the budget to invest in roaming IT personnel to manage these remote systems. So edge servers need to be designed to be self-secure and easy to update, manage and deploy from afar.

Plus, AI systems need to be running all the time, with zero downtime.

We’ve built the NVIDIA EGX Edge AI platform to ensure security and resiliency on a global scale. By simplifying deployment and management, NVIDIA EGX allows always-on AI applications to automate the critical infrastructure of the future. The platform is a Kubernetes and container-native software platform that brings GPU-accelerated AI to everything from dual-socket x86 servers to Arm-based NVIDIA Jetson SoCs.

To date, there are over 20 server vendors building EGX-powered edge and micro-edge servers, including ADLINK, Advantech, Atos, AVerMedia, Cisco, Connect Tech, Dell Technologies, Diamond Systems, Fujitsu, Gigabyte, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Inspur, Lenovo, Quanta Technologies and Supermicro. As well as dozens of hybrid-cloud and network security partners in the NVIDIA edge ecosystem, such as Canonical, Check Point, Excelero, Guardicore, IBM, Nuage Networks, Nutanix, Palo Alto Networks, Rancher, Red Hat, VMware, Weka and Wind River.

There are also hundreds of AI applications and integrated solutions vendors building on NVIDIA EGX to deliver industry-specific offerings to enterprises across the globe.

Enterprises running AI need to protect not just customer data, but also the AI models that transform the data into actions. By combining an NVIDIA Mellanox SmartNIC, the industry standard for secure, high-performance networking, with our AI processors into NVIDIA EGX A100, a combined converged accelerator, we’re introducing fundamental new innovations for edge AI.

NVIDIA EGX A100 converged accelerator
The NVIDIA EGX A100.

Enhanced Security and Performance

A secure, authenticated boot of the GPU and SmartNIC from Hardware Root-of-Trust ensures the device firmware and lifecycle are securely managed. Third-generation Tensor Core technology in the NVIDIA Ampere architecture brings industry-leading AI performance. Specific to EGX A100, the confidential AI enclave uses a new GPU security engine to load encrypted AI models and encrypt all AI outputs, further preventing the theft of valuable IP.

As the edge moves to encrypted high-resolution sensors, SmartNICs support in-line cryptographic acceleration at the line rate. This allows encrypted data feeds to be decrypted and sent directly to the GPU memory, bypassing the CPU and system memory.

The edge also requires a greater level of security to protect against threats from other devices on the network. With dynamically reconfigurable firewall offloads in hardware, SmartNICs efficiently deliver the first line of defense for hybrid-cloud, secure service mesh communications.

NVIDIA Mellanox’s time-triggered transport technology for telco (5T for 5G) ensures commercial off-the-shelf solutions can meet the most time-sensitive use cases for 5G vRAN with our NVIDIA Aerial SDK. This will lead to a new wave of CloudRAN in the telecommunications industry.

With an NVIDIA Ampere GPU and Mellanox ConnectX-6 D on one converged product, the EGX A100 delivers low-latency, high-throughput packet processing for security and virtual network functions.

Simplified Deployment, Management and Security at Scale

Through NGC, NVIDIA’s catalog of GPU-optimized containers, we provide industry application frameworks and domain-specific AI toolkits to simplify getting started and for tuning AI applications to new edge environments. They can be used together or individually and open new possibilities for a variety of edge use cases.

And with the NGC private registry, applications can be signed before publication to ensure they haven’t been tampered with in transit, then authenticated before running at the edge. The NGC private registry also supports model versioning and encryption, so lightweight model updates can be delivered quickly and securely.

The future of edge computing requires secure, scalable, resilient, easy-to-manage fleets of AI-powered systems operating at the network edge. By bringing the combined acceleration of NVIDIA GPUs and NVIDIA Mellanox SmartNICs together with NVIDIA EGX, we’re building both the platform and the ecosystem to form the AI nervous system of every global industry.

Learn more about NVIDIA EGX in the GTC 2020 keynote video: