Nvidia has recently launched a very unusual solution that belongs to the Bluefield series. It is worth mentioning that Bluefield comes from Mellanox, an Israeli computer network product company based on network communication technology. The company was acquired by Nvidia last year at a price of US$6.9 billion. The latter called this new project a data processing unit. (DPU) , can reduce the network, storage and security workload, while increasing manageability.
So, what is a data processing unit (DPU) ?
- The data processing unit (DPU) is a programmable electronic component that processes the data stream, and the data can be transmitted as multiple packets and components of information.
- DPU has the versatility and programmability of a central processing unit (CPU) , but it is dedicated to efficiently run on networked data packets, storage requests, or analysis requests. DPU through a greater degree of parallelism (can process more data at the same time), so it is better than CPU.
- At the same time, the MIMD architecture of the DPU is better than the SIMD architecture of the graphics processing unit (GPU) . Each request needs to make a different decision and follow a different path through the chip, making it different from the GPU .
It is understood that NVIDIA will integrate the Arm processor, Ampere GPU and Mellanox network adapter on the electronic board, thus launching Bluefield-2 and Bluefield-2X, the chip integrates eight ARM Cortex-A72 cores and a dedicated VLIW acceleration engine To perform combined computing tasks with Mellanox’s ConnectX-6 DX 200Gbps Ethernet or InfiniBand network card for connection. The general-purpose Arm kernel can run the Linux operating system and can offload various workloads from the server CPU. The VLIW engine provides some additional computational acceleration for it.
Nvidia said its Mellanox NVMe SNAP (Software-Defined Network Accelerated Processing) technology can provide 2.5M + IOPS read/write access for remote storage, which is a line-rate performance of 100Gb/s at a 4KB block size. In contrast, an entry-level NVMe SSD can provide 300K IOPS with 4 KB blocks. In addition, BlueField-2 DPU effortlessly adds IPSec encryption and decryption functions at a speed of 100 Gb/s. Software-defined network acceleration will provide considerable flexibility for data center operations, allowing technicians to quickly configure and expand their hardware infrastructure without having to rebuild from scratch. However, in terms of performance and functionality, software-defined infrastructure is not the most effective. As a result, a variety of dedicated accelerators for modern data center workloads have emerged in recent years.
At the same time, the BlueField-2X card adds an Ampere GPU, which can provide AI with a performance of 60 TOPS. The main advantage of BlueField-2X is that it uses hardware acceleration for remote direct memory access (RDMA/RoCE) communication, which enables zero-copy data transfer between GPUs, thereby maximizing the efficiency of computing clusters. Nvidia said that the novelty of the product is very suitable for data centers. Its tensor core can be used to accelerate AI tasks. For example, real-time analysis of the security level of the system, including detection of abnormal traffic, analysis of encrypted traffic, etc.
I believes that the future prospects and market size of the DPU business will be broader than that of the CPU. Together with the acquisition of technology companies and the business layout of Nvidia in recent years, they all demonstrate its importance to the data center business. Eyes on their eyes and ambitions, they will be able to break into the data center network and storage market with BlueField-2 DPU. At present, the data center market is firmly controlled by Intel, and its position is not subject to any supervision. It occupies more than 95% of the data center share, and about 85% of its revenue comes from the Xeon Xeon processor platform. For consumers In terms of comparison, Nvidia’s entry can put pressure on Intel to launch better products to ensure customer retention, which is undoubtedly a good thing for consumers