All Tech Field Day Events

Pensando Brings Cloud Scale to Networking, Storage, and Security Services

Organizations face many challenges, including the need to accelerate, adapt, and process and move a staggering amount of data from AI/ML, IoT, telemetry, and line-of-business applications.  This growth comes at a time full of constraints like workload consolidation and processor speed increases are unable to keep track with demand. At Cloud Field Day 7, Pensando presented a platform aimed to help cloud providers and enterprises accelerate workloads while providing scale-out networking, storage, and security services where the hosts are.

Wanting More from Moore’s Law

2020 has been a year full of challenges. Coincidentally, it’s also the year that the CPU speed improvements predicted by Moore’s Law are expected to screech to a halt. Also, compute costs can’t be expected to continue to decline rapidly. Because of the limitations of fitting more transistors on chips, processor speeds will double every twenty years instead of every two years. This processor slowdown happens when applications need more processing power, but organizations expect more from their hardware and software.

Costly GPUs have filled in the processor gap by accelerating AI/ML workloads. We’ve also seen the rise of Smart NICs, FPGAs, and other hardware accelerator cards offloading tasks and functions away from the compute processors to free up use.

Distributed Service Platform Unites Hardware and Software for Cloud-Like Agility

At Cloud Field Day 7, Pensando spotlighted their Distributed Services Platform that leverages domain-specific cards or specialized hardware acceleration cards capable of offloading networking, storage, and management tasks from hosts. The cards, though, do a lot more than offload processes. They run services. Each card supports a suite of networking, security, and storage services capable of helping organizations build their software-defined architecture.

This architecture, Persando says, can “give cloud providers the ability to build industry-leading cloud services and give enterprises the unique ability to drive cloud-like agility, security and operational simplicity across their entire infrastructure with unmatched scale and performance.” In the next section, we will break down what this means and delve deeper into the components that make this happen.

Tightly coupled hardware and software lets accelerate and scale-out services

The first part of the Pensando’s Distributed Service Platform is the Policy and Services Manager (PSM). This manager acts as a single pane of glass and lifecycle manager for the entire platform. Because PSM supports REST APIs, customers can integrate telemetry data into their existing tools like Splunk or ServiceNow.

Let’s delve into the magic of Pensando’s Distributed Services Platform: the Distributed Services Card. These are domain-specific cards that are installable into standard servers with a PCIe slot or can be used as a “bump in the wire.” These cards come fitted with own compute in the form four P4 programmable processor pipelines and 4 ARM processors. Because it’s PCIe-based, the cards can be used with virtual, container, and bare-metal workloads.

The tightly coupled hardware and software integration of the cards allows you to bridge both worlds and get high bandwidth with the flexibility and agility of software. Each card can support a broad list of services like load balancing, network overlay, routing, tunneling, compression, Data at Rest Encryption, stateful firewalls, microsegmentation, IPSec encryption, and wire-speed telemetry, etc. Pensando Distributed Services Cards could replace the functionality of some of your single-purpose hardware like load balancers. You can also scale services by adding cards.


Pensando’s Distributed Service Platform arrives to the market when the industry demands more from their hardware and software. Workloads must accelerate and process more I/O, and general computing alone isn’t going to get much faster. Pensando designed a solution to not only offload tasks from compute, but add cloud-scale networking and storage services to help organizations achieve their dream of software-defined architecture.

To learn more about Pensando’s Distributed Service Platform, check out their presentation from Cloud Field Day 7 videos.

About the author

Gestalt IT Staff

Gestalt IT Staff posts are a collective effort, providing the best analysis and commentary from leaders in the fields of virtualization, networking, storage, and desktop engineering.

Leave a Comment