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Limited Support For The AMD Pensando Elba SoC Might Finally Land Upstream In Linux 6.7

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  • Limited Support For The AMD Pensando Elba SoC Might Finally Land Upstream In Linux 6.7

    Phoronix: Limited Support For The AMD Pensando Elba SoC Might Finally Land Upstream In Linux 6.7

    For a year and a half now Pensando has been working on enabling their Elba SoC support for the mainline Linux kernel - a process that coincidentally began just days after AMD announced it was acquiring Pensando. Over the past 18 months the AMD-Pensando Elba SoC enablement work has now been through 16 rounds of code review but still isn't over the finish line yet but some of the initial enablement code might finally land with Linux 6.7...

    Phoronix, Linux Hardware Reviews, Linux hardware benchmarks, Linux server benchmarks, Linux benchmarking, Desktop Linux, Linux performance, Open Source graphics, Linux How To, Ubuntu benchmarks, Ubuntu hardware, Phoronix Test Suite

  • #2
    Is this something similar to Intel's Quick Assist Technology (QAT) pcie cards ?

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    • #3
      The AMD-Pensando Elba SoC is a data processing unit (DPU) intended for infrastructure offloading around storage and networking. The SoC consists of sixteen Arm Cortex-A72 cores, dual DDR4/DDR5 memory controllers, 32 lanes of PCIe Gen3 or Gen4 connectivity, up to dual 200 GbE or quad 100 GbE networking, storage and crypto offloading, and other features for DPU use-cases.
      So it's a computer that you plug into a pcie slot on your computer? I don't really get this thing. You plug it into a pcie slot, and then you plug other pcie connected devices into it? Does it run its own OS, and if so is it a guest OS on the host OS?

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      • #4
        andyprough bezirg

        Its basically a smart NIC:

        https://www.servethehome.com/what-is...-quick-primer/

        AMD is undoubtedly trying to make something comparable to Nvidia's: https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/network...ocessing-unit/

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        • #5
          Originally posted by brucethemoose View Post
          andyprough bezirg

          Its basically a smart NIC:

          https://www.servethehome.com/what-is...-quick-primer/

          AMD is undoubtedly trying to make something comparable to Nvidia's: https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/network...ocessing-unit/
          Thanks for the link - looks like I was right about a couple of things - it can have its own pcie connected devices and it runs its own OS. Interesting that it can be made so that the host computer just sees a NIC without seeing what's going on inside the DPU's OS. Obviously this is just for big data centers like AWS, but eventually these could have some cool uses in a smaller home or office network.

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          • #6
            AMD thinking

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            • #7
              Originally posted by andyprough View Post

              So it's a computer that you plug into a pcie slot on your computer? I don't really get this thing. You plug it into a pcie slot, and then you plug other pcie connected devices into it? Does it run its own OS, and if so is it a guest OS on the host OS?
              ehr.. not every extension board that carries some processor(s) is a "computer" in general sense. Various controllers like RAID ones I think had onboard processing units for ages.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by mos87 View Post

                ehr.. not every extension board that carries some processor(s) is a "computer" in general sense. Various controllers like RAID ones I think had onboard processing units for ages.
                As do many high-end NICs for servers.

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                • #9
                  So it is a form of "distributed processing" or "processing offload". Ok fine. Good idea.

                  Those technologies and ideas have been around computing since the mainframe days of the 1960s.

                  Just look up IBM ASP which evolved into IBM RJE, before the networking of computers became "a thing".

                  Srsly

                  Still, it is nice to see more and more of that thinking come to the PC world.

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                  • #10
                    Exactly these cards are extreamly cool, VMware also implemented their own os for these cards. You see big improvements on network speed. Especially for switching etc. The main usecase for this card for consumers would propably be opnsense. Switching, routing and even firewall features can be implemented on a <1000$ card with 100gbits+. This is unheard of yet. If you care how these cards work, here is a decent read: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document...uthors#authors

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