#195 – Fungible Data Processing Units

#195 – Fungible Data Processing Units

Chris EvansFungible, Guest Speakers, SmartNICs, Storage Unpacked Podcast

This week’s podcast episode continues the discussion on SmartNICs and DPUs with Fungible, a company that claims to have originally coined the term DPU. Chris and Martin talk with Pradeep Sindhu (CEO and co-founder) and Jai Menon (Chief Scientist) about Fungible’s storage cluster and host-based DPU. The Fungible architecture aims to solve the challenges of disaggregation, a topic we first looked at back in September 2017.

This discussion highlights some interesting challenges that new technology such as NVMe-oF is introducing into the data centre. As we move to a model of highly parallelised workloads, the interaction between storage and compute is back under the spotlight. Fungible is working on storage products today but claims to be able to disaggregate GPUs and in the future, potentially DRAM. Interesting times.

Find out more at https://www.fungible.com/

Elapsed Time: 00:49.25


  • 00:00:00 – Intros
  • 00:01:30 – What problem is Fungible looking to solve?
  • 00:02:45 – The benefits of Moore’s Law growth are almost flat
  • 00:03:35 – Modern applications are data-centric
  • 00:05:00 – Fungible is working on disaggregated architectures
  • 00:06:15 – There’s storage for  compute and storage for – storage!
  • 00:07:45 – What’s “hyper-disaggregation”?
  • 00:09:30 – Fungible offers volume-specific characteristics like encryption
  • 00:11:00 – Everything can be disaggregated except DRAM (for now)
  • 00:13:10 – Data I/O has specific requirements including in-order processing
  • 00:14:15 – Fungible can use an Ethernet network at 90% without packet drop
  • 00:15:30 – Data-centric workloads are heavily multiplexed
  • 00:18:45 – Does disaggregation finally deliver a real software-defined data centre?
  • 00:20:00 – Mainframes “reconfigured” overnight for batch workloads
  • 00:21:30 – Even hyperscalers operate in silos
  • 00:24:15 – The Fungible Storage Cluster – SAN 2.0?
  • 00:25:30 – New hero numbers!  15 million IOPS!!
  • 00:30:45 – Volumes are virtual across any or all storage clusters
  • 00:34:30 – Fungible claims better than local performance
  • 00:35:00 – The Storage Cluster gains additional benefits with a host DPU
  • 00:37:00 – Let’s not get diverted towards VSAM!
  • 00:39:20 – Disaggregated technologies could deliver truly reconfigurable data centres
  • 00:41:00 – Fibre Channel networks divide their traffic across multiple SANs
  • 00:42:00 – Who is using the Fungible technology?
  • 00:45:00 – Fungible is working on I/O primitives for SQL databases
  • 00:49:00 – Wrap Up

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Pradeep’s Bio

Pradeep’s career includes founding Juniper Networks, the company widely recognized for inventing and industrializing silicon-based routers—the invention that played a central role in bringing about the Internet age. Over the years he has held several key roles at Juniper, including founding CEO and Chairman, then Vice Chairman and CTO, and now Chief Scientist. Pradeep had a hand in the inception, design and development of virtually every product Juniper shipped from 1996 through 2015. Before founding Juniper, Pradeep worked at the Computer Science Lab at Xerox PARC for 11 years developing design tools and multiprocessor architectures. During this period he invented the first cache coherency algorithms for packet switched buses and made fundamental contributions to Sun Microsystem’s high performance multiprocessor servers. Pradeep holds a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, as well as a Masters in Electrical Engineering from the University of Hawaii. In addition, Pradeep holds both a Masters and a Doctorate in Computer Science from Carnegie-Mellon University. Pradeep is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and holds more than 200 patents.

Jai’s Bio

Jai joined Fungible after serving as CTO for multi-billion dollar Systems businesses (Servers, Storage, Networking) at both IBM and Dell. He was an IBM Fellow, IBM’s highest technical honor, and one of the early pioneers who helped create the RAID technology. He also led the team that created the industry’s first, and still the most successful, storage virtualization product and his team at IBM also built one of the fastest and earliest parallel file systems in the world. When he left IBM, Jai was CTO for the $20B IBM Systems Group, responsible for guiding 15,000 developers. In 2012, he joined Dell as VP and CTO for Dell Enterprise Solutions Group. In 2013, he became Head of Research and Chief Research Officer for Dell. Jai earned a Doctorate from Ohio State University, holds 53 patents and has published 82 papers and is a recipient of the IEEE Wallace McDowell Award and the IEEE Reynold B. Johnson Information Systems Award.

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