back to article HPE's Aruba adopts DPUs, but in a switch, not a server

HPE's networking subsidiary Aruba has added data processing units to a switch. Data processing units (DPUs) – aka SmartNICs or "infrastructure processing units" (IPUs) – are small computers integrated into a network adapter. Hyperscale operators adopted the devices to relieve servers of chores ranging from handling I/O to …

  1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Scratches head...

    Reads the article again...

    Googles for more information...

    Scratches head again...

    So... what they are proposing is pretty much moving some general purpose computing onto a bespoke, manufacturer specific device that's out of reach of the normal software management and anti-malware practices. It may be good for performance, but it's likely to be rather less good for management and accountability.

    1. chuBb. Silver badge

      Makes quite a bit of sense conceptually to me. Especially when using containers, a k8 aware switch would be very handy, and common management would totally work, all dpus I've looked at run Linux so what's not to like about say allowing a switch to operate as a load balancer on a couple of ports, or to run smoke tests on a given connection without needing to be an expert in the intricacies or each vendor and model ranges cli deployed in your network.

      Devil will be in the implementation and using it for the right sort of workloads though. Wouldn't be an early adoptor but for a lot of hybrid cloud scenarios I could see these sorts of things becoming super useful. Hell just being able to run tcpdump at switch level per port and dumped to a San while still being a switch could be super useful

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "some general purpose computing"

    TFA gives examples:

    "to relieve servers of chores ranging from handling I/O to external storage or running network services"

    "firewall and load balancer"

    "switches are an ideal place to inspect traffic before it reaches other, more sensitive parts of a network."

    ...so this isn't really general-purpose compute, but more network-specific functions, which can run faster and better off the server. Something like encryption and protocol offloads would be other candidates.

    I'm not sure why this would be out of the reach of normal software management practices, any more than any other type of appliance function would be.

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