NVIDIA Introduces New Data-Center-Infrastructure-on-a-Chip Software

NVIDIA DPU bluefield 2xNVIDIA today announced a new kind of processor – DPUs, or data processing units. These DPUs are supported by DOCA, a novel data-center-infrastructure-on-a-chip architecture. It would enable breakthrough networking, storage and security performance.

The launch of NVIDIA’s data-center-infrastructure-on-a-chip software was revealed today by NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang during his GPU Technology Conference keynote, as part of the company’s three-year DPU roadmap. The new NVIDIA solution features the new NVIDIA BlueField 2 family of DPUs and NVIDIA DOCA software development kit for building applications on DPU-accelerated data center infrastructure services.

“The data center has become the new unit of computing,” said Jensen Huang. “DPUs are an essential element of modern and secure accelerated data centers in which CPUs, GPUs and DPUs are able to combine into a single computing unit that’s fully programmable, AI-enabled and can deliver levels of security and compute power not previously possible.”

Networking, Storage and Security Tasks

Optimized to offload critical networking, storage and security tasks from CPUs, NVIDIA BlueField-2 DPUs would enable organizations to transform their IT infrastructure into state-of-the-art data centers. Data centers which are accelerated, fully programmable and armed with ‘zero-trust’ security features to prevent data breaches and cyberattacks.

A single BlueField-2 DPU can deliver the same data center services that could consume up to 125 CPU cores. This would free up valuable CPU cores to run a wide range of other enterprise applications.

NVIDIA DPU Portfolio

NVIDIA’s current DPU lineup includes two PCIe products:

  • The NVIDIA BlueField-2 DPU, which features all of the capabilities of the NVIDIA Mellanox ConnectX-6 Dx SmartNIC combined with powerful Arm cores. Fully programmable, it would deliver data transfer rates of 200 gigabits per second. It would also accelerate key data center security, networking and storage tasks, including isolation, root trust, key management, RDMA/RoCE, GPUDirect, elastic block storage, data compression, and more.
  • The NVIDIA BlueField-2X DPU, which includes all the key features of a BlueField-2 DPU enhanced with NVIDIA Ampere GPU’s AI capabilities that can be applied to data center security, networking and storage tasks. Drawing from NVIDIA’s third-generation Tensor Cores, it is able to use AI for real-time security analytics, including identifying abnormal traffic. This could indicate theft of confidential data, encrypted traffic analytics at line rate, host introspection to identify malicious activity, and dynamic security orchestration and automated response.

NVIDIA DOCA Software Development Kit

The new NVIDIA DOCA SDK enables developers to build applications on DPU-accelerated data center infrastructure services. It’s much like the NVIDIA CUDA programming model enables developers to build GPU-accelerated applications.

DOCA provides developers a comprehensive, open platform for building software-defined, hardware-accelerated networking, storage, security and management applications running on the BlueField family of DPUs.

DOCA is fully integrated into NVIDIA NGC, a software catalog offering a “convenient”, containerized software environment for third-party application providers. It’s intended to leverage advanced DPU data-center-accelerated services and to develop, certify and distribute applications to customers.

Jensen Huang
“CPUs, GPUs and DPUs are able to combine into a single computing unit that’s fully programmable, AI-enabled and can deliver levels of security and compute power not previously possible,” said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA.

Server Manufacturers Globally

Leading server manufacturers worldwide – including ASUS, Atos, Dell Technologies, Fujitsu, GIGABYTE, H3C, Inspur, Lenovo, Quanta/QCT and Supermicro – have plans to integrate NVIDIA DPUs into their enterprise server offerings.

These commitments from system providers are complemented by extensive support from software infrastructure partners, including:

  • VMware announced substantial work underway with NVIDIA as part of its recently announced Project Monterey initiative to support BlueField-2 DPUs with VMware Cloud Foundation.
  • Red Hat plans to offer support for BlueField-2 DPUs with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat OpenShift, components of Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud portfolio, which is used by 95 percent of the Fortune 500.
  • Canonical announced support of BlueField-2 DPUs and DOCA in its Ubuntu Linux platform, the most popular operating system among public clouds.
  • Check Point Software Technologies is integrating BlueField-2 DPUs into its cybersecurity technologies, which more than 100,000 organizations worldwide use to protect themselves from cyberattacks.

Availability of NVIDIA’s New Solution

BlueField-2 DPUs are sampling now and expected to be featured in new systems from leading server manufacturers in 2021.

BlueField-2X DPUs are under development and are also expected to become available in 2021.

DOCA is available for early access partners now.