Taos Glossary

An explanation of industry terms that is a quick read, and knowledge base.

Data Processing Unit (DPU)

What is a DPU?

A data processing unit (DPU) is a programmable processor that offloads networking and communication tasks from the CPU, providing more efficient storage and reduced demand on processing resources required for other tasks.

How does a DPU work?

A DPU comprises three core elements: a software-programmable CPU, a network interface, and one or more acceleration engines. The network interface ensures that the DPU can efficiently transfer data through the network. The acceleration engines make it possible to offload network and storage functions from the CPU to run on the DPU instead.

How is a DPU important?

A DPU helps to move data around the network within and between data centers more efficiently while letting the CPU offload its networking and communication tasks so it can focus on other compute functions better suited for the CPU. A DPU handles data-centric workloads and ensures the right data goes to the right place in the right way as swiftly as possible.

Benefits of a DPU

As they can offload process-intensive network functions from the CPU, DPU servers have become very popular, allowing vital CPU processing power to be allocated to more critical compute processing requirements. DPUs can also help accelerate virtual or containerized workloads, handling network security and encryption functions on behalf of the CPU.

Common use cases for a DPU

DPUs enable many features, including high-speed network connectivity and accelerated packet processing. This is often accomplished through programmable logic, where accelerators are used to handle high-compute storage processing, resource-intensive security management, and cases where independent operating systems are required.

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