Irony central: disaggregated infrastructure supplier Liqid tries aggregating switches

Composable disaggregated systems supplier Liqid is making life easier for customers by integrating a PCIe fabric switch inside its new EX-4400 expansion chassis so customers don’t need to buy separate switches.

Ordinarily, customers buy a Liqid PCIe fabric switch and then Liqid expansion chassis into which they slot PCIe-connected GPUs, FPGAs, NVMe SSDs, and Optane storage-class memory drives. These form a resource pool and are dynamically hooked up to bare metal X86 + DRAM servers by Liqid’s Matrix software to compose complete server systems to run applications. Components are returned to the pool when no longer needed.

Sumit Puri.

Sumit Puri, CEO & co-founder, Liqid, said: “While software is our business, the EX-4400 was born out of desire for industry-leading simplicity and PCIe device density. Now we’re thrilled to offer the world’s first and only fabric-enabled, high-density expansion chassis powered by the most advanced CDI software in the world.” 

Liqid supplies 2U LQD 300 and 4U LQD 400 expansion chassis. It has added the EX-4400 with a built-in fabric switch and 16x onboard 16GB/sec PCIe 4 interface ports supporting up to 16 directly connected host servers. A single host can consume up to four fabric ports, for 64GB/sec throughput. 

There are two models:

  • Liqid EX-4410, supporting up to 10 FHFL double-width devices
  • Liqid EX-4420, supporting up to 20 FHFL single-width devices

Both include independent PCIe slot power management to allow PCIe devices to be added and removed without powering down the chassis, preventing disrupted access to the other PCIe devices. Liqid is calling this combined chassis and switch concept CDI Simplified.