SolidRun Unveils The First Software-Defined DPU for Data Centers

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With the increasing demand for data centers to securing the infrastructure and scaling performance comes a major challenge, and grows the need for better isolation between the servers and infrastructure. In addition, maximizing application performance requires full utilization of the server’s CPU cores, which has created a need to offload hypervisor functions from the server to other hardware. The above trends drove the development of Data Processing Units (DPUs) for the data center, which are used for server isolation and application acceleration.

Fixed hardware implementation DPUs can offload many functions but are limited to unique functionality or grow too big to support multiple Edge, Cloud and Enterprise use cases. Moreover, the hardware implementations require dedicated host drivers to utilize the hardware-based functions. SolidRun developed a new kind of DPU that is software defined and powered by high-performance off-the-shelf SoC solutions to offer flexible isolation, acceleration and avoid any potential hardware lock. These new Software-Defined DPUs make it possible to isolate data center servers from the infrastructure at the node level and abstract the infrastructure based on open standards (e.g NVMe, virtio, DPDK), resulting in higher performance and security for about the same cost as a standard smartNIC.

SolidNET DPUs utilize off-the-shelf Arm-based SoCs from the industry’s top chipmakers. This approach unlocks a wide variety of vendors who can supply different SoCs to support a variety of unique features and benefits, while keeping hardware costs low. Since complex network services are offloaded to the DPU, customers can further reduce data center costs with the use of less complex data center network infrastructure hardware.

The first product in the SolidNET family of DPUs to be released features a compact PCIe HHHL card form factor and is equipped with a 16-core NXP LX2162A SoC. The general-purpose 16-core Arm-based NXP Layerscape LX2162A CPUs (other options to be announced) offer significant computing capabilities, while the PCIe card form factor makes it ideal for upgrading existing cloud, edge, and enterprise data centers servers for SDN applications. Operating separately from the host server, these DPU cards boot to a general-purpose OS like Linux and offer Independent out-of-band management capabilities. This offers strict security isolation of the hosting system from the cloud network infrastructure.

Offering customers full flexibility to implement SDN, networking security, and acceleration functions based on virtIO, DPDK and NVMe standards, these powerful data center solutions are packed with everything you need for next-generation cloud-scale computing. Every SolidNET DPU is compatible with Linux-based SDN software applications, including DPDK, which provides data plane libraries and network interface controller polling-mode drivers for offloading many networking services and functions. 

SolidNET Software-Defined DPUs are available today, click here to learn more.

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