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Understanding The Power Benefits Of Data Processing Units
Blocks&Files, November 8th, 2022
November 18, 2022,
Volume 296, Issue 3

The use of hardware acceleration in a DPU to offload processing-intensive tasks can greatly reduce power use, resulting in more efficient data center.

The data processing unit (DPU) is a relatively new technology that offloads processing-intensive tasks from the CPU onto a separate 'card' in the server. I put 'card' in quotes as that's the form factor but in reality, a DPU is a mini server on board that's highly optimized for network, storage, and management tasks. A general CPU on board a server was never designed for these types of intensive data center workloads and can often bog down a server.

A good analogy is to consider the role of a GPU. They handle all the graphics- and math-intensive tasks, enabling the CPU to handle the types of tasks it was designed to. A DPU plays a similar role with data center tasks. Despite the strong value proposition, there are still many skeptics of DPUs, primarily because they use more power than a regular network card, but that shows a lack of understanding of workloads.

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