Solarflare Unveils Latest Generation of Ethernet Adapters for Scaling Mission-Critical Data Centers


As the market leader in application-intelligent networking solutions, Solarflare has always been one step ahead of the competition in providing the best low latency, Onload®, high packet capture adapter solutions. This week Solarflare has innovated its networking solutions even further, with the release of its next generation of 10/40 Gb ethernet platforms.

Meet the New Flareon® Family

Powered by a configurable suite of software options, the Flareon Ultra SFN8500 family of Ethernet adapters is designed to accelerate, monitor and secure scaling flow-aware, cloud-based data center environments. Added to the 7000 series already impressive low latency capabilities, the 8000 series offers even more acceleration capabilities, along with enhanced security features that offer additional protection at the Network Interface level including:

  • Ultra-low sub-microsecond latency with Onload kernel bypass
  • Class leading clock synchronization accuracy and hardware time stamping
  • Scalable, High-Performance Virtualization with 2048 vNICs, SR-IOV, overlay network acceleration e.g. VXLAN, NVGRE

This latest generation of adapters has been designed for customers in need of large scale high performance data solutions, including stock exchanges, commercial banks and other mission-critical data applications. Designed with cyber security, low latency, and high capacity and bandwidth in mind, the SFN8542 (40GbE) and SFN8522 (10GbE) combine a powerful set of features that enable data centers to implement hardware-based micro-segmentation with an enterprise-managed gateway in every server, including:

  • Less than 1 microsecond TCP half round trip latency
  • Greater than 60 Mbps frame processing rates
  • 16 lanes of PCIe Gen 3.1, with full dual 40 Gb/s sustained bidirectional bandwidth
  • Stratum 3E temperature-compensated oscillator
  • Flexible layer 2-4 flow processing and flow steering
  • Full stateless offload support, including double checksum and reassembly for network overlay protocols

Next-Generation Network Protection

Data centers can now better target multiple business-critical issues including mitigating distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, data lockdown, data exfiltration, monitoring and capture requirements, precision hardware time stamping and data loss, as well as improving overall system performance. The Flareon Ultra SFN8500 products also incorporate MIFID II readiness, enabling customers to comply with upcoming EU regulatory requirements.

How this Upgrade Will Revolutionize Cloud Performance

Russell Stern, Solarflare’s President and CEO, announced the new generation of adapters with several mission-critical goals in mind. “With our new generation of technology we are revolutionizing the way in which enterprises can scale and secure their data centers. The Flareon Ultra SFN8500 hardware, together with our innovative software, will enable our customers to build out private cloud networks and run the critical applications they were not previously able to. As cyber security becomes the biggest challenge and priority for mission-critical data centers, a number of our customers have already begun using our new products to great impact and we are excited to announce our plans for their general availability.”

The Flareon Ultra SFN8542 and SFN8522, together with the comprehensive suite of software options are now starting to ship.

Solarflare Teams Up with Digital China To Expand World-Class Networking Solutions

Digital China Solarflare

Following a number of exciting partnerships over the past year, Solarflare is bringing its world-class application-intelligent networking solutions to a large new audience. In a new partnership with Digital China—the largest integrated IT service provider in China—Solarflare products will now be widely available for customers in China. Digital China will sell and support Solarflare’s complete line of software and hardware solutions including SolarSecure, OpenOnload, and SolarCapture as well as Flareon adapters.

This partnership marks a huge growth opportunity for Solarflare’s products and services, as Digital China is the leading IT provider in the country. Digital China has played a huge role in driving IT growth in a country that has been going through a huge upgrade recently, with networks moving from 1 GB to 10 GB and beyond. This major upgrade phase allows Solarflare to reach many new customers who are looking to accelerate, monitor and secure their networks with next-generation server solutions.

In addition to this growth opportunity, Solarflare’s robust security offerings will also be supported by Digital China’s security division. “Solarflare provides a new level of enterprise protection solutions for our clients who require mission critical applications,” said Tony Liu, General Manager, Digital China. “With Solarflare’s best-in-class technology software and hardware solutions, we can provide clients with an unprecedented level of high performance computing and security benefits, giving us a tremendous competitive advantage in the marketplace.”

To drive its APAC growth, Solarflare recently appointed 27-year industry veteran Thomas Chin as Vice President of Sales, Asia Pacific. In his new role, Mr. Chin will oversee sales and business development in Asia.

Solarflare’s CEO, Russell Stern, has been excited to announce this partnership. “Digital China’s leadership and expertise in security and capture makes them an ideal partner to help us bring software and hardware solutions to businesses that need to maximize performance, improve efficiency and secure data across the enterprise.”

This is not the first time Solarflare has worked to improve network access, speed and security in China. China’s former internet barriers were commonly known as “the great firewall,” in reference to long site load times and multiple filters that hindered performance. Last year, the San Francisco based security company CloudFlare turned to Solarflare for server solutions, as they needed a 10 GbE capable of keeping pace with their massive growth and rapid-fire networking needs. Last year CloudFlare also joined forces with Baidu, or China’s equivalent of Google, to address the country’s network issues. Since then, they’ve created an internet superhighway that has enabled millions of website page views to experience super-fast load times and optimized performance for the first time. For more on how Solarflare and CloudFlare are working to bring unparalleled performance to China’s internet users, check out the full blog post here.

Solarflare’s recent partnership with Digital China comes at an exciting time, as the IT provider carries out its mission of digitizing China. As the first company to develop China’s “Sm@rt Cities,” Digital China is not only driving China’s IT growth, but also its citizens’ connectivity. Solarflare is excited to be a part of China’s online renaissance.

Solarflare Teams Up with Hamburgnet to Bring Leading Network Solutions to Europe


Solarflare is excited to announce that Hamburgnet—a leading value added reseller and system integrator in the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland)––has been selected for its SuperVAR program. This means Hamburgnet will partner up with Solarflare to become highly trained on Solarflare’s products on both the technical and sales front. As Solarflare continues to drive its business across Europe, partnering with Hamburgnet will bring a greater Solarflare presence to the DACH region.

The SuperVAR program includes pre-sales, training, design and support services of Solarflare networking solutions. In addition, Hamburgnet will act as a stocking sub-distributor for smaller or non-authorised resellers throughout the DACH region.

Select VARs, including Hamburgnet, are therefore able to have a deeper Solarflare commitment. Solarflare trains dedicated sales and technical people at the VAR, funds market development, and aligns go-to-market strategies for these territories. As Tim Dales, Solarflare’s Director of Worldwide Channels, put it: “This level of dedication provides a closer relationship with the VAR team and the end user.” The result? More companies will have access to Solarflare’s cutting edge solutions for fully optimized, fast and secure networks.

We are excited to be deepening our relationship with Solarflare as their products offer best-in-class technology that meet and exceed the demands of the marketplace,” said Sebastian Schmitzdorff, Managing Director of Hamburgnet. “By joining forces, we are able to provide clients with significant value including unparalleled network solutions that help maximize performance, improve efficiency and secure sensitive data.

Hamburgnet’s extensive knowledge of the market and client focus in this region gives Solarflare an edge as it continues to expand its presence across the EMEA region. The partnership will bring customers the best networking, capture and security products, pricing and service for maximized network performance, speed, monitoring and security. Solarflare is excited to combine forces with Hamburgnet to drive more design wins and sales in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Perspecsys Photos

How Solarflare Optimizes Financial Trading Platforms


Every industry has been transformed by the Internet, and none more so than electronic trading. More than ever, firms need to reliably buy and sell stocks at super fast speeds. This requires a server solution that isn’t just lightning fast, but also reliable, secure, and open to customization. Solarflare has been stepping up to the plate in exciting ways, providing hardware and software options that optimize financial platforms for today’s digital world.

The world’s top trading platforms have turned to Solarflare to optimize their networks with accelerated speed and efficiency combined with ultra-low latency connectivity and enhanced packet processing. Mike Aikins, CTO of Chi-X Australia, Australia’s second largest trading venue, had this to say:  “Solarflare’s technology has become the gold standard for electronic trading innovation.” Chi-X’s recent deployment of Solarflare technology has led to a 28% improvement in latency reduction and market connectivity.

Here are two specific Solarflare technologies that have risen to the unique challenges of today’s trading landscape:

1. Application Onload Engine Server

From its unrivaled architectural flexibility to its lightning fast acceleration capabilities, Solarflare’s second-generation ApplicationOnload Engine(AOE) server adapter is a massive breakthrough in ultra-low latency networking. The AOE is the industry’s only FPGA-integrated 40Gb Ethernet server adapter. By providing world-class adapter hardware, a high-performance Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) and a robust firmware development kit (FDK), the AOE allows users to customize applications and tailor on-the-fly performance to specific trading environments. Essentially, the updated AOE improves server utilization by reducing CPU, memory, and I/O load—all of which increases the efficiency of processing cycles.

2. Capture SolarSystem

Capture SolarSystem (CSS) is a breakthrough cost effective, distributed, flexible, and openly architected packet capture platform. CSS enables packet capture deployment on the top of every server rack in the data center, which provides enhanced “DVR-like” real time lossless data recording. The latest version of CSS allows customers to capture the entire network traffic flow in a rapidly searchable form. This allows for greater visibility and network instrumentation capabilities for regulatory reporting, boosted performance for risk analytics, precise time stamping, and next gen threat detection. CSS is a great next generation solution for trading platforms because it provides real time packet capture on a per server basis with top of rack analytics, and it’s fully customizable.


How to Combat Top Security Threats We’ll Face in 2016


All companies should be concerned with how to stay ahead of security breaches and mitigate damage in an age where hacking methods continue to grow ever more sophisticated. We’re likely to see more evolving techniques in 2016, so it’s important to stay ahead of the curve with a multi-layered security approach.

From Sony to Ashley Madison to Juniper, there’s been no shortage of large scale security breaches recently. The takeaway from these breaches is that all enterprises should boost their  server protection. For tips on how to do this, check out my recent blog post on how Solarflare’s accelerated, monitored and secure server solutions can drastically improve your company and customers’ sensitive data. Read on for solutions on how to combat three security threats we’re likely to see more of in 2016.

1. Cloud Computing

As more companies move sensitive data to cloud storage infrastructures, we can expect to see a rise in revenue for centrally hosted cloud based software companies, to the tune of $33 billion in 2016, according to tech investing firm Centaur Partners. With this move to cloud hosting we can expect to see hackers shifting their focus from physical network hacks to cloud breaches. Solarflare’s recent partnership with DigitalOcean, the world’s second largest cloud hosting provider, illustrates the proper approach to safeguard against cloud hacks. With 60,000+ developers depending on its network, DigitalOcean turned to Solarflare to enhance, accelerate and secure its network. Utilizing Solarflare’s Flareon 7042 Series 10/40GbE PCIe 3.0 server I/O adapters, DigitalOcean can now scale network capacity much more efficiently and with greater throughput than other solutions on the market. For tips on how to make your cloud partnership more stable and secure, check out my recent post on DigitalOcean.

2. Extortion Hacks

Extortion hacks, in which sensitive data is released, have been on the rise ever since the Sony hack back in 2014. These are the worst kind of attacks for a company to recover from, because they destroy customer trust, confidential information is revealed, and lawsuits can result. Last year’s big extortion hack was the Ashley Madison case, so we can expect to see more in 2016. The best method for mitigating the likelihood of an extortion attack is through utilizing a packet capture approach to add an additional layer of protection at the server network. Read more about how to do this in my recent blog post on why packet capture tech is essential for strong security, as it brings an additional layer of protection to the top of every rack of every server.

3. Abusive Bots

The rise of abusive bots and DDoS attacks that interfere with website performance have made protection software a top concern for high traffic sites. The recent partnership between Solarflare and CloudFlare illustrates a great solution to this very real threat.

San Francisco based startup CloudFlare accelerates, optimizes, and protects over 2 million sites and counting, by expanding its capabilities of mitigating growing DDoS attacks (among other things). To help with this process, CloudFlare partnered with Solarflare to add an additional layer of security and headroom at the server level. By headroom, we mean that the insertion of Solarflare builds depth, performance, and responsiveness into the CloudFlare servers in the face of DDoS attacks. CloudFlare reports that the Solarflare SFN5122F server adapters run circles around other offerings in the market. In CloudFlare’s SYN flood tests, they performed 180% better than the competition. According to CloudFlare benchmarks, Solarflare hardware and software delivered 16 million packets per second (at 60 bytes per packet, the typical size of a SYN packet in a SYN flood attack), compared with the next best alternative topping out around 9 million packets per second.

Staying ahead of abusive bots and DDoS attacks is a matter of being armed with the best server adapters and filter engines. Solarflare’s SolarSecure paired with its best in class 10GbE servers pack a strong one-two punch to any imminent threats that hackers might throw your way.


World’s 2nd Largest Cloud Hosting Provider Partners with Solarflare

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From partnering with CloudFlare to boost the internet in China to joining forces with Stratus and Velocimetrics to improve financial service performance, Solarflare has entered into some exciting partnerships lately. The latest milestone in Solarflare’s quest to bring improved network performance, speed and security to performance cloud, data center and financial institutions comes in the form of a partnership with rising tech star DigitalOcean.

DigitalOcean is the fastest growing cloud infrastructure provider for software developers. The nimble startup is giving giants like Amazon, Google and Microsoft a run for their money by providing a simple and scalable SSD cloud server platform. Instead of focusing on matching these huge companies’ quantities of servers, DigitalOcean has shifted its attention to user experience instead. This winning approach has brought the startup over $183 million in funding and a meteoric rise to the world’s second-largest web hosting provider.

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To fuel such explosive growth, DigitalOcean has turned to Solarflare to enhance and accelerate its network. Utilizing Solarflare’s Flareon 7042 Series 10/40GbE PCIe 3.0 server I/O adapters, DigitalOcean can now scale their network capacity much more efficiently and with greater throughput than other solutions on the market.

DigitalOcean provides developers with KVM based cloud infrastructure on demand, allowing them to easily create and build new applications and websites. Utilizing Solarflare’s unique network adapter technology allows developers faster system access while utilizing less network and CPU resources in the process. At the same time, users will be able to scale more efficiently during high periods of demand while offering greater server density per virtual machine (VM).

Ben Uretsky, CEO of DigitalOcean, sees the partnership as a huge win: “Solarflare’s technology roadmap and the company’s dedication to network performance and security made them an ideal strategic partner to meet the demands of our explosive growth.”

DigitalOcean’s 600,000+ developers need the utmost levels of speed, flexibility and scalability to effectively build and customize such a high volume of applications and sites. Solarflare’s Flareon hardware and software ensures that those needs are consistently met by delivering industry-leading message rates with lowest latency and jitter, along with low CPU utilization. In this way, multi-core CPUs can be fully leveraged to efficiently distribute I/O processing workloads, thereby eliminating bottlenecks.

As DigitalOcean continues its rapid growth, their recent partnership with Solarflare takes performance potential to the next level.

Afraid of Security Breaches? Boost Your Server Protection


News of the recent large scale security breach at networking company Juniper is just the latest example of why corporations should actively increase their cyber defense. While the FBI is currently investigating the back door hack that potentially compromised 3 years worth of highly classified data, the take away here should be that all companies looking to protect data and customer information should implement a multi-layered defense system for their networks.

Solarflare is the leader in secure network solutions, by proactively approaching security from multiple points of possible infiltration. Particularly for financial institutions or other industries with highly sensitive information, maintaining uninterrupted performance across applications while ensuring the earliest possible detection of breaches is essential. Here’s a three step plan to keep your network safe, secure, and speedy:

1. Proactively Protect the Server Perimeter

The network server is the number one target of cyber attacks, because this piece of hardware is where crucial client and institutional data is stored. Defense in depth begins at the perimeter level, much like a moat surrounding a castle from possible intruders.

The core of Solarflare’s DDoS server attack mitigation is SolarSecure– a high performance packet filter engine that enables “bad” traffic to be detected very early in the network stack, so DDoS attacks can be absorbed without the degradation of “good” traffic. The filtering engine allows for individual packets to be inspected, limited or blocked based on their contents.

In the face of DDoS attacks,  servers enabled with the SolarSecure were found to be 3 to 4 times more effective at packet filtering than iptables. This is a great way to identify and slow down potential threats before they escalate to a level where real damage is done.

2. Build Layered Defenses

The second phase of protection involves internal network segmentation. Multitenant cloud environments help defend against the spread of threats across the entire network. Partitioning off infected areas, new policies, filters and access control lists can be implemented to protect critical data from unauthenticated users.

Solarflare’s Capture SolarSecure (CSS) enables packet capture deployment on the top of every server rack in the data center, providing enhanced “DVR-like” real time lossless data recording. For financial institutions in particular, CSS provides greater threat mitigation, regulatory compliance requirements, and optimized trade execution management with precise time stamping capabilities. CSS mitigates cybersecurity risk by providing greater visibility into enterprise network, enabling prevention of hostile intrusion and data theft.

3. Close the Gap

Once a company can identify where its vulnerabilities lie, it can proactively mitigate risks to the perimeter and inner layers. Machine learning and optimizing data management and analytics allows companies to build the capability to analyze all the data on their networks. Having this detailed trail of information will be more important than ever before, as security regulations tighten in the face of ongoing large scale security breaches like the one at Jupiter.

SolarFlare’s recent partnership with Velocimetrics provides this kind of forward-thinking analysis, allowing all financial orders and trades to be tracked in real time. This is the kind of customized solution that more companies would do well to implement to bridge the gap between detecting breaches, preventing breaches, and ensuring that there is no exfiltration of sensitive assets from servers.

Companies can use these strategies and Solarflare’s security tools to help mitigate the cost of prevention and reduce the time of detection, creating a cost-effective security strategy. As large enterprises continue to be targeted by evolving hacking methods, a multilayered defense plan at the server level is essential.

Solarflare & Stratus Bring Unmatched Performance to Financial Service Applications


In an exciting new partnership, Solarflare is combining its OpenOnload application acceleration middleware with Stratus ftScalable storage for unparalleled trading performance.

Financial institutions can’t tolerate any downtime during rapid fire trades and other financial transactions, and this winning combination allows firms to rest assured that they have the fastest, lowest latency solution powering their Linux environments.

Stratus already has an unmatched reputation as a superior fault-tolerant availability solution. Pairing with Solarflare allows financial companies to utilize the only platform on the market that provides ultra low latency, high throughput, CPU efficiencies, and superior virtualization and continuous availability. The simple and reliable platform is vastly better than complex clustering or error prone failover scenarios. Not only is this partnership bringing an unmatched level of performance to financial institutions that rely on fast and accurate processing, but it also brings peace of mind and streamlined simplicity.

In a rapidly changing global financial marketplace, the processing of financial transactions has evolved from being a source of revenue to a source of competitive advantage,” said Jason Andersen, vice president of business line management, Stratus Technologies. “By combining our long-time expertise in Linux-based, fault-tolerant availability solutions with the industry leader in high performance network computing, financial services customers can overcome two of their most pressing problems in one simple, easy to deploy solution.”

This top notch server combo enables users to improve site and application performance, as well as control and security while reducing CPU utilization. Offered in one simple package for easy deployment that doesn’t require changing the network infrastructure, Stratus’ ftServer and Solarflare’s Flareon Ultra dual-port 10G Ethernet SFP+ server adapter and OpenOnload deliver unmatched message rates, ultra low latency, jitter and superior virtualization. These qualities enable the financial industry’s best performance and scalability for enterprise data center environments. Including a new network interface card (NIC) that accelerates processing speed by improving network I/O latency, bandwidth and message rates, this package is a win-win for financial companies looking for the best application performance solution.

4 Recent Solarflare Breakthroughs in Server Speed & Security

Solarflare had led many exciting breakthroughs in enhancing server performance, speed, and security over the past year. Below is a quick recap of four recent innovations from Solarflare:

1. CSS enhances risk management for HFT:


Recent improvements to Solarflare’s Capture SolarSystem (CSS) enables packet capture deployment on the top of every server rack in the data center, providing enhanced “DVR-like” real time lossless data recording. CSS positions financial institutions for success by providing greater threat mitigation, regulatory compliance requirements, and optimized trade execution management with precise time stamping capabilities. For more on how CSS improves high volume trading, read the full post here.

2. Solarflare + Velocimetrics Drastically Improve Trading


Solarflare and Velocimetrics have partnered to provide financial institutions involved in high frequency trading with enhanced performance and analytics tools. Combining the cost effective, distributed, and openly architected packet capture platform CSS with Velocimetrics financial analytics enables trades to be tracked, monitored, and analyzed in real-time. For more on the exciting partnership, read the full post here.

3. OpenOnload Makes the Web and VOD 50% Faster


One in three high traffic websites run NGINX to enhance delivery, performance and security. Recent improvements to Solarflare’s OpenOnload stack have accelerated NGINX and NGINX Plus performance by twofold for serving high demand web and video on demand traffic. Solarflare’s OpenOnload updates lend themselves to across the board improvements for the functionality, speed, and security of high traffic sites. By delivering lower latency and higher message rates, OpenOnload is the best option for cloud and HPC applications like the millions powered by NGINX. For more on the improved performance enabled by OpenOnload, read the full post here.

4. CloudFlare + Solarflare Building a Better Web in China


Startup CloudFlare  accelerates, optimizes, and protects millions of websites, leading to 50% faster load times while using 60% less bandwidth.  Recently CloudFlare turned to Solarflare for their server solutions, needing a 10 GbE capable of keeping pace with their massive growth and rapid-fire networking needs. Solarflare 10GbE Onload has stepped up the plate to deliver the lowest latency, highest performance, and most scalable server solution. Cloudflare Software Engineer Marek Majkowski recently called Solarflare’s OpenOnload a “magical network accelerator” for its kernal bypass abilities. In bringing these technologies to China, the notoriously slow and restricted Internet service there is getting a major overhaul, thanks to an innovative partnership with Baidu. For the full story on how CloudFlare and Solarflare are bringing an “internet super highway” to China, check out the post here.

How Solarflare Dramatically Improves Risk Management & Performance for Financial Institutions

Recent improvements to Solarflare’s Capture SolarSystem (CSS) have addressed key risk management and compliance issues facing financial institutions. CSS enables packet capture deployment on the top of every server rack in the data center, which provides enhanced “DVR-like” real time lossless data recording. The latest version of CSS allows customers to capture the entire network traffic flow in a rapidly searchable form. Providing valuable features for financial institutions involved in high volume trading, CSS enables these four key capabilities:

  • Greater visibility and network instrumentation capabilities for regulatory reporting
  • Enhanced network capabilities for performing risk analytics
  • Greater performance monitoring
  • Next generation threat detection

Designed with a scalable approach in mind, CSS is an open software platform that enables distributed, high performance, pervasive capture of all network nodes. Key features include line rate capture to disk (up to 40 Gb/sec), indexed query of captured data, and intuitive GUI allowing rapid deployment of data capture solutions across enterprise data centers and other high-demand networks. With an open API, CSS can also be easily integrated with third-party analytic applications to create customized data retention and analytics solutions.


CSS positions financial institutions for success by enabling both buy-side and sell-side market participants to address several types of risk issues, including:

  • Mitigating cybersecurity risk by providing greater visibility into enterprise network, enabling prevention of hostile intrusion and data theft.
  • Enabling firms to effectively address regulatory compliance requirements and deliver a comprehensive record of audit trail.
  • Improving operational efficiency by proving proof of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) compliance, enhanced troubleshooting process and network analysis.
  • Optimizing electronic trade execution management with high performance precision time stamping capabilities.

The updates to Solarflare CSS are exciting because they give real solutions to financial firms facing new regulations and cybersecurity concerns. CSS gives traders a streamlined way to capture, analyze and manage massive volumes of data across global trading systems. Combined with updated risk management capabilities, CSS is a giant step in reducing the time and cost between intrusion detection (IDS) and prevention (IPS). Solarflare’s updated CSS technology is a win-win for financial institutions looking to stay ahead of risks and regulatory reporting while also improving performance and mitigating threats.