Cisco is pleased to announce the Cisco Nexus Firmware Development Kit (FDK), our new software development framework for FPGA-based Nexus switches and SmartNICs is now orderable on Cisco Commerce Workplace.


Cisco’s Intelligent development framework for field-programmable gate array (FPGA)

The Cisco Nexus® FDK (Firmware Development Kit) is a powerful development framework for adding application-specific intelligence to FPGA-based Cisco Nexus SmartNICs and Cisco Nexus 3550 series switches.

The framework lowers the barrier to utilizing FPGA based devices for custom network offload and acceleration applications. Users no longer have to start with a blank FPGA development card and electronic schematic. Instead users can now start with a cost-effective, production-quality, fully supported Cisco Nexus SmartNICs and Cisco Nexus 3550 network switches.

Users can add intelligent network application acceleration into Nexus FPGA-base devices, utilizing Cisco well-defined and documented FDK framework. Use cases include deep packet inspection, advanced packet filtering, full line-rate packet processing, AI/ML acceleration, 5G processing, and new FPGA innovations.


Key features and Benefits

  • Reduce network latency to support the increasing demands of financial trading solutions.
  • Employ application specific intelligence and functionality for FPGA-based Nexus network switches and Nexus SmartNICs.
  • Quick implementation of deep packet inspection, advanced packet filtering, full line-rate packet processing, AI/ML acceleration, and 5G processing.
  • Create long-term value from programmable custom network offload, application acceleration, enhancements, upgrades, and maintenance updates.

The Cisco Nexus FDK package

The Cisco Nexus FDK is shipped as a complete package with everything required to build, run, and maintain FPGA-accelerated network applications. FDK includes:

  • PCS/MAC component for interfacing Ethernet networks to FPGA logic
  • PCIe engine for interfacing the FPGA logic to a host X86 CPU
  • Linux network driver for seamless network integration
  • Linux kernel bypass drivers, libraries, tools, and examples for high-performance software
  • Makefile-based build system for easy generation of new images
  • Image flashing and hot-reloading tool to load images onto devices with minimal disruption
  • Complete documentation for all of these components

The Cisco Nexus FDK editions and licensing

  • Free edition (FDK-FE): includes components for PCS/MAC, PCIe DMA, Drives, Tools, Timestamping with no low latency optimization capabilities.
  • Professional edition (FDK-PE): includes components for ATE, PCS/MAC, PCIe DMA, Drives, Tools, Timestamping, and ultra-low latency optimization capabilities for applications. The Professional edition can be licensed as Full version or Evaluation version for use on a test system.

To learn more, visit cisco.com/go/nexusfdk


Unlock the full value of ULL network solutions

Cisco Nexus next-generation ultra-low latency network switch platform, smart network interface cards (SmartNIC) and firmware development kits (FDK) are specifically designed to address the needs of latency-sensitive applications in data center networking, high-frequency trading (HFT), financial services, and service provider networks.

  • Nexus 3550 Series Switches: Ultra-low latency network switch platform, multiplexing functions, precision timestamping, with programmability to facilitate your mission-critical network applications.
  • Nexus SmartNIC adapters: Programmable Nexus SmartNIC (smart network interface cards) are next-generation FPGA-based ultra-low latency and high-resolution timestamping adapters to program your network and accelerate application offloads.
  • Nexus FDK (firmware development kits): Provides a powerful software development framework to add application specific intelligence and functionality to FPGA-based Nexus 3550 network switches and SmartNICs


Learn more about low latency


Todd Pritchett

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Cloud Networking