A French company called Accelize has launched AccelStore, an app store specifically around providing custom programmed applications for FPGA accelerators.
FPGAs are dedicated processors known for doing two things: very fast processing, and being reprogrammable. CPUs have to be general-purpose processors that run an OS, but an FPGA has the luxury of doing a dedicated task, so the architecture is different.
The problem is that while FPGAs are reprogrammable to do new, specific tasks, they aren’t that easy to program. In fact, it’s often pretty hard to do. That’s Accelize’s sales pitch. Rather than writing the code to reprogram the FPGAs in your servers, it has the templates for you.
FPGA accelerator functions currently in AccelStore
It’s not exactly a bustling app store; there are only four accelerator functions to start:
- High-compression Gzip, providing compression speed-ups of 30x, according to Accelize.
- Text-based find-and-replace capability, “with expected acceleration factors over 1000x.”
- JPEG encoding.
- TRNG, a true random number generator from Secure-IC that provides acceleration in random number generation and “the highest levels of security.”
Accelize said more of these acceleration functions are in the works, being developed by third parties and partners. They will be available in the coming weeks. All existing IP are available for a free five-minute trial without having to enter a credit card.
These services are available for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and OVH platforms, a French cloud services and server vendor. However, the company said more cloud providers and data center servers are also planned for future products and support.
The company also said a wide range of additional accelerator functions are being developed by partners and will be available in the coming weeks.
“AccelStore provides a simple and fast way to evaluate and deploy accelerator functions on host applications. The associated RESTful API functions enable cloud users to launch any AccelStore accelerator function on any supported Cloud FPGA instance in less than five minutes. These API functions can also be integrated into the end application, providing the acceleration capability with minimal modification,” Accelize says in its news release.
Accelize changes gears
The AccelStore represents a change in direction for Accelize. About a year ago, the company struck a partnership with OVH to provide FPGA Acceleration-as-a-Service in the cloud, allowing users to operate pre-built FPGA accelerators, customize them, or even create new ones using its QuickPlay/QuickStore solution.
But the company decided that customers wanted FPGA-accelerated IP on a rental basis, billed either per the hour or per the amount of data processed. Hence the change to the app store.