DPU – Data Processing Unit – dedicated processors to accelerate storage and networking functions carried out by industry standard x86 servers. These DPUs can be based on different kinds of processing hardware – for example, ASICs, FPGAs and SoCS with customised Arm CPUs. 

Fungible DPU diagram.

A DPU is a system on a chip (SoC), typically containing three elements;

  • Multi-core CPU, e.g. Arm
  • Network interface capable of parsing, processing and transferring data at line rate – or at the speed of the rest of the network – to GPUs and CPUs,
  • Set of acceleration engines that offload and improve applications performance for AI and machine learning, security, telecommunications, and storage, among others.
Nvidia Mellanox BlueField DPU.