Lenovo and NVIDIA Spark New Era of Open Networking

by John Biebelhausen

To accelerate growth in the enterprise data center, HPC, and AI markets, Lenovo is now offering NVIDIA open networking software and infrastructure, including NVIDIA Mellanox Spectrum Ethernet switches and the NVIDIA Cumulus Linux network operating system.

Lenovo and NVIDIA have long partnered on powerful offerings such as DragonFly+ network topologies for InfiniBand and SharedIO VPI adapters, as well as NVIDIA Quantum InfiniBand switches, NVIDIA Connect-X VPI adapters and NVIDIA LinkX InfiniBand cables and transceivers.

Now the companies are enabling a new era of accelerated, software-defined networks by offering a comprehensive Ethernet fabric architecture powered by the industry’s highest-performing ASICs and tied together with NVIDIA’s advanced open network operating system, Cumulus Linux.

NVIDIA Spectrum switches and Cumulus Linux OS enable open networking solutions for the cloud-inspired data center. 

This new era takes a holistic, web-scale approach to networking based on open standards and customer choice, similar to how AWS, Google, Microsoft, Oracle and other cloud giants scale out their data centers. With open networking from end to end and at all layers of software and infrastructure, NVIDIA and Lenovo can help customers of any size unlock value.

Spectrum Ethernet Switches 

NVIDIA allows access to the switch ASIC from all tiers of the stack. This includes Spectrum’s programmable ASIC and open ASIC drivers allowing Cumulus Linux full access to Spectrum features.

Spectrum switches also offer open software development kit APIs to maximize application flexibility — NVIDIA doesn’t restrict usage or programming of the ASIC. This lets customers quickly address their business requirements by programming Spectrum-based switches, either directly or through an open network operating system like Cumulus, which enables advanced automation, customization and scalability.

NVIDIA Cumulus Linux
NVIDIA Cumulus Linux integrates tightly with Spectrum switches to enable programmable data center automation and network DevOps.

Spectrum Ethernet switches are the most advanced available and optimized for high-performance enterprise-class systems, storage, AI and the cloud. They offer a fully shared buffer to support fair bandwidth allocation and predictably low latency, as well as traffic-flow prioritization and optimization technology.

Also included in the switches is What just Happened switch telemetry technology. WJH provides real-time visibility and actionable details on abnormal network behavior for the fastest and easiest network monitoring, troubleshooting and problem resolution.

What Just Happened telemetry
Intelligent What Just Happened telemetry from Spectrum switches is aggregated, analyzed and displayed by Cumulus NetQ.

Lenovo now offers the following Spectrum Ethernet switches with the Cumulus Linux network operating system:

AS4610-54T – A Gigabit Ethernet Layer 3 switch series with a total of 54 ports; 48 10/100/1000Base-T RJ-45 ports, four 10G SFP+ uplink ports, and two 20G QSFP+ stacking ports. The AS4610-54T is ideal as a data center top-of-rack switch or can be used as an intelligent platform management interface to provide management and monitoring capabilities. 

SN2010 – The ideal half-width, top-of-rack switch for hyperconverged and storage deployments. Packed with 18 ports of 10/25GbE and four breakout ports of 40/100GbE, the SN2010 can deliver up to 1.7Tb/s aggregate throughput with the perfect number of ports to deliver high availability for storage and HCI clusters.

SN2410-B – The ideal top-of-rack switch, allowing maximum flexibility, with speeds spanning from 10Gb/s to 100Gb/s per port. Its optimized port configuration enables high-speed rack connectivity to 48 devices at 10GbE speeds. The eight 100GbE uplink ports, which can be split into 16 ports running 50GbE, allow a variety of blocking ratios that suit any application requirement.

SN2410-C – Provides 25GbE through 100GbE interconnectivity within the data center and is aimed for 25GbE server deployments. Offers eight ports running at 100GbE, which can be split to 16 ports running 50GbE, and 48 ports running at 25GbE. The SN2410 carries a whopping throughput of 4Tb/s with a landmark 2.97Bpps processing capacity in a compact 1RU form factor.

SN3700C – Its 1U 32-port 100GbE spine can also be used as a high-density 10/25GbE leaf when deployed with splitter cables. Allows for maximum flexibility, with ports spanning from 1GbE to 100GbE, port density that enables full-rack connectivity to any server at any speed, and a variety of blocking ratios. SN3700C ports are fully splittable through breakout cables to expand connection density up to 128 10/25GbE ports.

NVIDIA Ethernet switches
NVIDIA Ethernet switches let Lenovo deliver a complete Ethernet fabric solution including access, top-of-rack, leaf and spine switches. Shown here are the AS4610-5T, SN2010, SN2410-C and SN3700C.

SN3000 series switch platforms combine a wide range of programmability, telemetry and tunneling innovations with industry-leading performance to address the complex networking requirements of data centers.

They’re based on the high-performance Spectrum-2 ASIC with a bidirectional switching capacity of 12.8Tbps. SN3000 platforms are available in a range of configurations, each delivering high performance combined with feature-rich layer 2 and layer 3 forwarding, ideally suited for both top-of-rack leaf and fixed-configuration spine deployments.

The SN3000 series provides full wire speed, cuts through-mode latency and features on-chip fully shared 42MB packet buffering and flexible port use in addition to advanced congestion management and network virtualization capabilities.

NVIDIA Spectrum-2 switch silicon
The NVIDIA Spectrum-2 switch silicon supports predictably low latency at any packet size and using any port combination. Most competing switches show increasing packet latency with larger packets and inconsistent performance across different port combinations.

Spectrum switches are available as part of the Lenovo integrated solutions, which are pre-defined solutions that extend across private and hybrid clouds, hyperconverged infrastructure, and composable private cloud infrastructure. Each is a complete platform for digital transformation that can be built in a data center. They include solutions for HPC/AI, Azure Stack Hub and SAP HANA. More information on the Lenovo lineup:

To learn more about NVIDIA networking products and Lenovo’s support for compute, storage or management traffic in high-performance environments, AI, private/hybrid cloud and hyperconverged infrastructure, check out the following resources: