HPE Supports New Intel Programmable Accelerator For Analytics, Video

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is giving support to Intel's newest programmable accelerator card that improves the performance of financial, video transcoding and streaming analytics applications in the data center.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel Tuesday unveiled the new Intel Programmable Acceleration Card that is powered by the Intel Stratix 10 SX FPGA, which is part of the company's line of field-programmable gate array chips that can be reprogrammed after manufacture. The semiconductor giant also said that it is working with systems integrators and value-added resellers to implement the technology.

The Programmable Acceleration Card, or PAC, aims to make FPGA programming more accessible by giving solution providers access to developer tools and other software. Intel has pitched the FPGA as an offering for boosting performance and power efficiency at levels that modern data centers require.

[Related: Intel CPU Shortage Due To Strain Laptop Shipments, Lower DRAM Prices]

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Intel said HPE is the first OEM that will use the Intel PAC with Stratix 10 SX FPGA, along with the Intel Acceleration Stack for Intel Xeon processor, in its servers. The company did not say which HPE server models will incorporate the new PAC or when they will be available.

"We’re seeing a growing market for FPGA-based accelerators, and with Intel’s new FPGA solution, more developers—no matter their expertise—can adopt the tool and benefit from workload acceleration," Bill Mannel, vice president and general manager of HPE's HPC and AI Group, said in a statement. "We plan to use the Intel Stratix 10 PAC and acceleration stack in our offerings to enable customers to easily manage complex, emerging workloads."

HPE's support of Intel's FPGA-based platform comes after Dell EMC and Fujitsu said earlier this year that they would implement FPGA chips in some of their server products.

Sabrina Gomez, a product marketing director at Intel, said the Stratix 10-based PAC is a dual-slot PCEe card that offers double the density in terms of logic elements than its PAC based on the Arria 10 GX FPGA, which gives the card increased capabilities for larger workloads and higher performance. The PAC also features greater on-chip memory, faster Ethernet and a higher power capacity, up to 225 watts.

Intel is working with technology partners Micro-Ware and Megh Computing to develop applications for accelerating video transcoding and streaming analytics, respectively, according to Gomez. The PAC's other supported applications include risk management, artificial intelligence and genomics.

Improving performance for an application like streaming analytics can, for example, aid a retailer's ability to collect data from a store and analyze it for real-time decision-making, according to Gomez.

"You're able to bring in that data and process it faster and also be able to accelerate that and make decisions on that faster," she said.

Gomez said Intel is working with some systems integrators and VARs on implementing the Stratix-based PAC in workloads for some customers. She said she was not authorized to name most of the VARs and systems integrators working on solutions but offered Accenture as a name that has given support.

Intel's online list of authorized distributors show that ASI, D&H, Ingram Micro, Synnex and Tech Data do not carry FPGA products while Arrow Electronics, Digi-Key and Mouser Electronics do. Gomez said she was not able to speak to Intel's future distribution plans.

"Over time you will see different engagements," she said. "I believe that it's safe to say we are absolutely going to leverage the partnerships Intel has."

Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at Fremont, Calif.-based ASI, said he found news of Intel's current work with VARs and systems integrators on FPGA-based solutions promising and that some customers have asked about it.

"They need to control the number of people they're going to work with so that when they go broad, they have all the details worked out on how to do that," he said.