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Xilinx real-time server appliances for video streaming

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By Ally Winning

The two new appliances are based on Xilinx’ Real-Time (RT) Server reference architecture. They have been developed to enable the delivery of applications such as eSports and game streaming platforms, social and video conferencing, live distance learning, telemedicine and live broadcast video to optimize video quality and bitrate at the lowest cost per channel. The appliances have hardware architectures and software that is optimized to deliver high channel density and low latency performance. They come in two pre-configured options integrating Xilinx Alveo datacenter accelerator cards – the High Channel Density Video Appliance and the Ultra-Low Bitrate Video Appliance.

The High Channel Density Video Appliance features up to eight Alveo U30 datacenter acceleration cards. The Alveo U30 card provides high-density video processing in a low-profile form factor accelerator card. It is built around the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC, a power-optimized all-programmable SoC with integrated video codec and graphics engines. The card supports H.264 and HEVC (H.265) codecs and can stream up to sixteen 1080p30 channels per card.

The Ultra-Low Bitrate Optimized Video Appliance has been developed for high-quality live video while reducing bandwidth costs. It has up to eight Alveo U50 accelerator cards. It has been built on Xilinx UltraScale+ architecture and is packaged in a 75-watt, low-profile form factor. The Alveo U50 card includes 8GB HBM2, 100GbE networking and a PCI Express 4.0 interconnect. It can stream up to seven full-HD 1080p60 channels along with eight full ABR ladders (all at x265 medium preset).

The new appliances have been built on the FFmpeg framework for quick replacement of existing software and GPGPU-based transcoder infrastructure by using a common API. Software partners are able to build applications to run above the standard FFmpeg layer. The HEVC codec has been rebuilt from the ground up to offer a componentized architecture that offers better control of the codec down to the frame level. Both appliances offer up to a 4x reduction in cost, footprint, and power for H.264 at 1080p30 resolution and x264 medium preset.

The Xilinx RT Server reference architectures have optimized hardware architectures and software stacks, from the gate-level up to the software and AI stacks, to offer the optimal performance for specific workloads. Available in a 1RU rackmount form factor, both appliances support complete Docker container and Kubernetes management capability for easy scale-out deployments.

HPE ProLiant server qualifications and ISV support

HPE has qualified the Alveo U50 and Alveo U250 accelerator cards on the HPE ProLiant servers. The HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen 10 and HPE ProLiant DL385 Gen 10 Plus servers will be the first Xilinx FPGA-powered HPE servers. HPE will be the first tier one server OEM to offer the bitrate optimized Alveo U50-based video transcoding appliance.

More information

www.xilinx.com/RTServer

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