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As Cloud Service Providers consider their investment strategies and technology plans for the future, Infrastructure Processing Units (IPUs) offer a path to accelerate and financially optimize cloud services

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In a post-pandemic world, one thing has become clear as businesses look to reinvent and rebound: Technology and architecture choices matter more than ever. Leading and winning in this new world has as much to do with the ingenuity of technology choices as it historically has with the business plan. For enterprises, the ability to develop, deploy and scale new services, using next-generation capabilities, at light speed becomes an imperative. For the CSP, this understanding provides an opportunity to take on an increasingly critical role - not just as a technology provider, but as a key strategic business partner.

As businesses move at scale to the CSP-provided cloud, there is need to diverge away from server optimized architecture to one better designed to meet the needs of the CSP. This evolution should drive superior levels of optimization to increase both performance and profit. In highly virtualized environments, significant amounts of server resource are expended processing tasks beyond user applications, such as hypervisors, container engines, network and storage functions, security, and vast amounts of network traffic. To address this challenge Intel has introduced a new class of product called the Infrastructure Processing Unit (IPU).

An IPU is an advanced networking device with Ethernet connectivity, programmable storage and networking accelerators tightly coupled with dedicated programmable cores that isolates and securely offloads the management of infrastructure functions and other services. An IPU offers full infrastructure offload and provides an extra layer of security by serving as a control point of the host for running infrastructure applications.

Leading hyperscale CSPs are driving the following IPU “offloading” use cases:

- Accelerated Networking – To offload virtual switch functionality from the host application processor onto the IPU.
- Accelerated Storage – To move the storage stack from the host application processor onto the IPU, increasing throughput and reducing complexity and overhead.
- Accelerated Security – To offload encryption/ decryption, compression, and other security functions that would otherwise be CPU intensive from the host application processor.
- Infrastructure Processing – To offload the hypervisor services management functions from the host application processor down to the IPU.

For more information, see IPU-Based Cloud Infrastructure: The Fulcrum for Digital Business

For more information about FPGA-based IPUs from Intel and Intel Partners, click here.


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