FpgaNIC: An FPGA-based Versatile 100Gb SmartNIC for GPUs


Zeke Wang, Hongjing Huang, Jie Zhang, and Fei Wu, Zhejiang University; Gustavo Alonso, ETH Zurich


Given that the increasing rate of network bandwidth is far ahead of that of the compute capacity of host CPU, which by default processes network packets, SmartNIC has been introduced to offload packet processing, even application logic. Modern GPUs have already become a key computing engine in a broad range of applications such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and High Performance Computing (HPC), which always need massive computing power that a single GPU server cannot afford. When processing these applications, the distributed pool of GPUs generates the majority of network traffic in a cluster of such servers. The commercially available multi-core SmartNICs, such as BlueFiled-2, fail to process 100Gb network traffic at line rate with its embedded CPU, which is capable of doing control-plane management only. The commercially available FPGA-based SmartNICs are mainly optimized for network applications that run on the host CPU. We intend to develop a GPU-oriented SmartNIC to accelerate a broad range of distributed applications on distributed GPUs.

To this end, we present FpgaNIC, an FPGA-based GPU-centric versatile SmartNIC that enables direct PCIe P2P communication with local GPUs using GPU virtual address, and that provides reliable 100Gb hardware network transport to communicate with remote GPUs. The above two components consume fewer than 20% FPGA resources on a mid-size FPGA, so FpgaNIC has sufficient resources for a customized data-path accelerator that allows offloading complex compute tasks on the FPGA for line-rate in-network computing, thereby complementing the processing at the GPU. FpgaNIC has been designed to explore the design space of SmartNICs, e.g., direct, on-path, and off-path models, each of which benefits different types of applications. We believe that FpgaNIC opens up a wealth of research opportunities, e.g., accelerating a broad range of distributed applications by combining GPUs and FPGAs and exploring a larger design space of SmartNICs by making them easily accessible from local GPUs. FpgaNIC allows to prototype applications that can eventually be migrated to hardened SmartNICs.

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@inproceedings {280712,
author = {Zeke Wang and Hongjing Huang and Jie Zhang and Fei Wu and Gustavo Alonso},
title = {{FpgaNIC}: An {FPGA-based} Versatile 100Gb {SmartNIC} for {GPUs}},
booktitle = {2022 USENIX Annual Technical Conference (USENIX ATC 22)},
year = {2022},
isbn = {978-1-939133-29-25},
address = {Carlsbad, CA},
pages = {967--986},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/atc22/presentation/wang-zeke},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jul,

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