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Linux 5.4 Kernel Adds Driver For The Mysterious Pensando Ionic Network Hardware

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Little is publicly known about stealth networking startup Pensando Systems, which is founded by former Cisco executives. They’ve been ramping up efforts since early 2018 but to date their web-site hasn’t launched nor formally introduced any products, but they now have a networking driver in the mainline Linux kernel.

As part of the networking pull is a mention of “Add IONIC driver.” What’s this?

The IONIC driver is the inaugural Pensando Systems’ driver within the Linux kernel. The Pensando Ionic driver is for a family of Ethernet adapters. The documentation cites the corporate site as pensando.io though their web-site still isn’t resolving. To date most mentions of Pensando just pertain to this networking startup’s hires with very little on the actual San Jose company itself.

The driver was contributed by Shannon Nelson, who is a long-time Linux engineer that spent nearly three decades at Intel prior to joining Oracle as a kernel engineer for a few years. Since November 2018 he’s been listed as working as a Linux network driver developer at “undisclosed”, which now would turn out to be Pensando Systems.

At least now being at the stage where they have contributed a mainline Linux driver for their inaugural Pensando Ionic Ethernet hardware, hopefully it won’t be too much longer before they lift the curtain on this new networking company and their wares.


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