SharpSwitch™ PCIE-9202/9204Hybrid PCI Express Intelligent Network Interface Cards

SharpSwitch™ PCIE-9202/9204

The Artesyn SharpSwitch™ PCIE-9202 and PCIE-9204 are network interface cards (NIC) with an embedded high-end switch in a PCI Express (PCIe) card form factor for use in standard server platforms. The embedded switch may be an element of a distributed networking backbone for a whole stack of servers where the server with the NIC gets a 100G access point into that network. A high-end CPU on the PCIE-9204 card can perform any kind sophisticated processing and balancing tasks on the selected packet flows.

The SharpSwitch PCIE-9202/4 cards support three (3) QSFP28 connections for up to 300 Gbps I/O bandwidth into the card’s switch and a x16 PCIe Gen 3 channel to the server CPU which supports 100G Ethernet traffic. The CPU on the PCIE-9204 can process up to 50 Gbps via its own switch port.

The SharpSwitch PCIE-9202/4 cards are based on the Intel® Ethernet Multi-host Controller FM10840 (Code name Red Rock Canyon), a combination of an Ethernet switch and several network adapters. Due to the switch-internals of this silicon, many pre-filtering and distribution tasks such as load balancing needed for such a system can be offloaded to the switch silicon before the packet even gets distributed.


Traditional servers racks require a top-of-rack (ToR) switch, which requires separate network adapter cards and cabling for each server sled. The SharpSwitch PCIE-9202/4 cards can be used to distribute network traffic between multiple servers without a ToR switch supporting either ring or mesh topologies depending on network requirements. The SharpSwitch PCIE-9202/4 cards can also be used with ToR switches, but used to aggregate network traffic and provide a flexible high bandwidth interconnect to a smaller number of ToR switches.

Some of the benefits enabled by the SharpSwitch PCIE-9202/4 cards include:

  • On-board high-speed switch allows for load balancing on the network interface card, alleviating the need for expensive external load balancers
  • Provide the infrastructure for implementing a sophisticated router
  • Provide the infrastructure to support Open vSwitch offload, ensuring the maximum number of cores is available for payload processing in NFV applications
  • I/O based on QSFP28s enables interface flexibility and allowing it to be tailored for the individual deployment environment

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  • 3x QSFP28 for up to 300Gbps I/O bandwidth
  • Direct data transfers between the NIC and Intel® Xeon® processers through PCIe 
  • Onboard Intel® Xeon® processor D for additional functionality (9204 version)
  • Enabling L2/3 switching and load balancing
  • Virtual switch
  • Support for OpenFlow via Open vSwitch and OVSDB
  • Enabling OpenStack software on LBaaS agent and DPDK

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