Pensando Brings Cloud Scale to Networking, Storage, and Security Services

What could you do with specific hardware for tasks in your data center? Not just general purpose CPUs and GPUs but an actual suite of hardware and software designed to accelerate your workloads? Gestalt IT took a look at the Pensando presentation from Cloud Field Day and highlight how their integrated hardware and software stack might just be the answer to your cloud problems. Their Distributed Service Platform is a solution to not only offload tasks from compute, but add cloud-scale networking and storage services to help organizations achieve their dream of software-defined architecture.


Cloud Networking Architectures

In this post from Ivan Pepelnjak, he breaks down one of the realities of running virtual machines on cloud infrastructure. These VMs still look for an Ethernet interface. For many enterprise-focused platforms, this means simply emulating a physical Ethernet cable. This allows admins to not have to relearn their networking stack. But the cloud providers implemented virtual networking that can scale beyond a few hundred hosts, using smart NICs. At Cloud Field Day, Pensando showed how they are trying to bring that kind of scale to the enterprise with their own smart NIC. Ivan looks at their solution and how it can fit into the enterprise world.


MPLS + P4 = Pensando; But Does It Add Up?

Leading up to Cloud Field Day, Chris Grundemann was exceptionally excited about hearing from Pensando. Partly because he’s a bit of a neophile and they just came out of stealth. Also because what they are working he found really cool, adding P4 programming language support with hardware to provide software-defined, edge-accelerated, always-secure and visible, centrally managed platform that can run in any environment, all aimed the cloud! Combined with a prestigious founding team, Chris thinks they offer a truly innovative solution that while a niche use case for now, can be built out over time.


Fixing the X86 Problem

Much like the IBM Mainframes that preceded it, the x86 architecture is getting long in the tooth. While still ubiquitous across enterprise and consumer devices, the once standard architecture is seeing competition at all sides, as performance scaling and process enhancements have slowed. Chris Evans highlight Persando’s presentation from Cloud Field Day as an example of this. They use an ARM-based SmartNIC that can be programmed with P4 to offload network functions workloads from x86 and realize substantial performance gains. Chris sees the further disaggregation of compute, networking and storage as a result of these kind of innovative offload solutions.


Pensando Expands What SmartNIC Offloads Can Do

For Justin Warren, he found Pensando’s presentation at Cloud Field Day to be impressive on a technical level. They’ve developed an ARM-based chip that is programmable using the P4 network programming language. This is used in a SmartNIC called a Distributed Services Card that you install in your server to offload various network functions from the general-purpose CPU. This has the potential to offer huge performance benefits on network functions, but Justin sees this as limited to larger cloud providers and the infrastructure that supports it. Justin has questions about the actual size of the market for this solution, and how much it will cost, but was definitely impressed by the technology and team behind Persando.


Pensando Places Programmability First

Programming hardware isn’t easy. Unless you start out with the idea that you’re going to use a language that is easy to adapt to your needs. Tom Hollingsworth looks at the decisions made by Pensando to leverage P4 to extend its platform to adapt to the future needs of its customers. After hearing from the company at Cloud Field Day, Tom sees Pensando in the early stages of making something big, and the power of P4 will make the sky the limit. Their platform is currently shipping with NetApp and HPE systems and likely to see wider adoption, especially in cloud providers.


Day Two Cloud 047: Highlights and Analysis From Cloud Field Day 7

In this episode of the Day Two Cloud podcast, Ethan Banks and Ned Bellavance discuss some of the presentations from Cloud Field Day. They looked at the big presentations from VMware, SolarWinds, and startup Pensando in the episode, specifically focusing on VMware Cloud on AWS, monitoring cloud performance with SolarWinds, and Pensando’s SmartNIC to offload a server’s network processing. Having two great hosts discussing the latest cloud goodness makes for a good podcast.


Build Your Network Apps on Pensando’s Cloud of SmartNICs – Day Two Cloud Video

Pensando Systems definitely made a big impression at Cloud Field Day. The company is a startup that threatens to be a juggernaut if past performance of the founders is any indicator of future results. Pensando’s made an ARM processor and paired it to a NIC and orchestration platform. Put the NIC in your servers and manage the NIC fleet centrally. Use the platform to create networking applications offloaded from the x86 CPU, all for less than a 30W power draw. Ethan Banks and Ned Bellavance discuss the implications of what they saw at the event, and who will be Pensando’s customers.


Pensando Systems at Cloud Field Day 7

It’s always exciting to get a new presenting company at an event like Cloud Field Day. Pensando Systems joined the Field Day presenter alumni with their recent presentation, and definitely made an impression on the delegates. While the event was virtual for their debut, it actually fostered a lot of great interaction both from the delegates and our wider audience on Twitter. Be sure to check out their full presentation video to find out how they built a Distributed Services Platform that gives cloud providers the ability to build industry-leading cloud services and gives enterprises the unique ability to drive cloud-like agility, security and operational simplicity across their entire infrastructure with unmatched scale and performance.


Cloud Field Day 7 (#CFD7): A Heads-Up

We were lucky to have Ather Beg joins us as a delegate for Cloud Field Day. He always brings keen insight and extensive industry experience to offer a truly unique voice around the delegate table, virtual or otherwise. In this post, he gives a look at each of the presenters and why their session may be of interest to a wider audience. There was VMware, no stranger to Field Day, doing two sessions on their VMware Cloud on AWS solution. He was also interested in Stellus’ key-value store approach to storage to provide exceptional performance using protocols like NFS. There was also a presentation from SolarWinds, as well as a look into the Pensando Distributed Services Platform. Be sure to check out all the presentation videos to get to speed with the latest from the event.


Hardware Offloads, Not Everything Is X86

Alastair Cooke takes a look at why x86 isn’t the only option anymore for organizations looking to solve computing problems. This trend has been going on for a while, with GPUs finding new roles handling highly parallelized workloads in ML and AI. But he also highlights how NGD Systems is putting ARM cores inside SSDs to provide computation storage. He’s also looking forward to hearing about the Pensando Distributed Services Card at Cloud Field Day, which appears to offer hardware offloading for software-defined edge services, aimed at telcos. We can’t wait to hear what he thinks of their presentation!


Cloud Field Day 7 – Who Will Be Presenting?

Alastair Cooke will be joining us virtually for Cloud Field Day later in April. Instead of the jetlag that comes from crossing an ocean to usually be at an event, he’ll instead be up early to join the other delegates for the presentations. Though a virtual event, he’s looking forward to the same in-depth technical presentations, the opportunity to ask direct questions to the presenters, and the great conversations with the other delegates. In this post, he runs down what he’s looking forward to from each of the presenters. This includes a mix of Field Day stalwarts like Aruba, VMware, and Solarwinds, with newer companies to the event series, like Stellus and Pensando. Be sure to mark your calendar to join the live stream to watch the event along with Alastair.