Nvidia pushes into a wider application ecosystem

Nvidia is extending its solution footprint far beyond artificial intelligence (AI) and gaming, venturing broadly across the entire computing ecosystem into mobility and the next-generation cloud data center.

Nvidia’s ambitions in this regard are clear from its pending acquisition of Arm Technology and from CEO Jensen Huang’s positioning of the company as a “full-stack computing” provider. Demonstrating that he’s putting substantial R&D dollars behind this vision, at the virtual Nvidia GPU Technology Conference this month, Huang announced the rollout of the company’s new BlueField “data processing unit (DPU)” chip architecture.

Accelerating diverse workloads through programmable CPU offload

Strategically, the BlueField DPU builds on two of Nvidia’s boldest recent acquisitions. The new hardware architecture runs on Arm’s CPU architecture. It also incorporates high-speed interconnect technology that Nvidia acquired recently with Mellanox.

Marking the company’s evolution beyond a GPU-centric product architecture, Nvidia’s new DPU architecture is a high-performance, multicore SoC (system on chip). BlueField DPUs incorporate software-programmable data-processing engines that can accelerate a wide range of AI, networking, acceleration, virtualization, security, storage, and other enterprise workloads.

As the foundation of server-based intelligent network interface controllers, DPUs offload workloads from CPUs while efficiently parsing, processing, and transferring high volumes of data at line speeds. In addition to their CPU-offload acceleration benefits, Nvidia’s DPUs can strengthen data center security because the Arm cores embedded within them provide an added level of isolation between security services and CPU-executed applications.

Announced at this latest GTC were the following versions of this new DPU SoC family:

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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