Software Defined Timing: The Synchronization Solution for Data Centers

Tuesday | 5:35 - 5:55 pm

The expansion on the utilization of datacenters for multiple applications is increasing every day. Markets such as Finance, telecommunications or multimedia broadcasting are becoming datacenter-centric. Furthermore, many of those applications are requiring accurate synchronization capabilities and make intensive use of FPGA NIC cards as key Ethernet communication elements. We describe a timing solution based on FPGA devices to provide accurate timing information to the servers within datacenters. Different types of synchronization protocols facilitate offering different levels of performance to the host processor. From a pure software solution (NTP), Hardware assisted method (PTPv2) to a more intensive hardware method (White-Rabbit). The described solution here aims to provide the needed accuracy from millisecond to subnanosecond range. The only requirement at the hardware level is to integrate FPGAs as the key basic element of the NIC card. This allows a fully programmable timing solution to be integrated on each datacenter computer. Thereby the users can take full advantage of different accuracy levels required by their target applications on a fully programmable software-defined timing solution.