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NVIDIA launched the DOCA SDK to accelerate and protect a new generation of data centers.

April 26, 2021

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Recently, NVIDIA released the NVIDIA DOCA SDK, which is an architecture that integrates data center functions on the chip, which can help developers easily program the BlueField DPU.

Modern data centers are software-defined agile data centers, built for highly distributed workloads from the cloud to the edge. However, the traditional software-defined data center approach will bring a huge performance burden, which can easily consume 30% or more of server CPU cores. In order to solve this problem, the NVIDIA BlueField data processor (DPU) breakthrough support network, security and storage high performance, but also can well achieve the necessary facilities services such as offloading, acceleration and isolation of the data center.

DOCA uses BlueField DPU for data center innovation

With BlueField-2 DPU and DOCA, customers can transform their data centers into advanced virtual private clouds, which can not only achieve acceleration, full programmability, security and reliability, but also provide the scalability of public clouds. With DOCA, developers can use industry-standard APIs to quickly create applications and services on the NVIDIA DPU, enabling innovation in the data center. Combining DOCA and BlueField-2 DPU can develop breakthrough and high-performance network, security and storage applications on a comprehensive and open development platform. Applications developed on DOCA and BlueField-2 will isolate basic data center services from applications, which will significantly improve application performance, security, and efficiency. The release of DOCA provides developers with the tools needed to build a more secure and hardware-accelerated data center.

DOCA also supports BlueField DPU to generate time-stamped telemetry data for all server data traffic. In this way, each server can be used as a network splitter for traffic mirroring, and can also monitor selected part or all of the data traffic. This powerful CPU zero-load telemetry technology can create a time-synchronized data center to improve security, and it is also an ideal choice for optimizing the performance of a data center distributed architecture.

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DOCA supports the configuration, update and monitoring of hundreds or even thousands of DPUs throughout the data center. Now, every server can enjoy the advantages of DPU-based hardware offloading, acceleration and isolation of network, security, storage and infrastructure services.

DOCA can offload data center infrastructure services to the BlueField DPU, thereby freeing up the core so that the CPU can be fully used for business applications. DOCA implements these hardware acceleration functions and provides performance equivalent to more than 30 CPU cores, thus improving efficiency and significantly saving server costs.

In addition, DPU also created an independent data center infrastructure service domain outside the application processing domain. If the host is compromised, the isolation layer between the security control agent and the compromised host prevents the attack from spreading to the entire data center.

Finally, DPU can decouple the application's dependence on infrastructure services. Usually, application dependencies make it very difficult to upgrade the operating system's kernel, and IT administrators have to perform it manually. After decoupling infrastructure services and applications, cloud administrators will be able to automatically perform data center security updates.

DOCA simplifies the programming journey. Developers can use APIs, libraries and sample codes to create program frameworks to program accelerated applications running on DPUs, which brings excellent efficiency and performance. With the help of the DOCA SDK, application developers can immediately start building DPU applications; due to its feature of supporting multiple generations of DPU, developers can be confident that the currently developed application can run and have on all future BlueField descendants. More performance advantages provided by hardware upgrades.

Finally, with the rapid growth of the partner DPU and DOCA ecosystem, we will be able to obtain the best network, security and storage applications from today’s industry leaders.

DOCA version 1.0 supports the following:

Deep packet inspection (DPI) library and reference code, and a stateful load balancer using DOCA Flow

Storage virtualization using NVMe SNAP, suitable for bare metal and virtualized servers

Network acceleration function for bare metal and virtualized servers

NVIDIA SDK Manager supporting DOCA includes

API reference and documentation

NVIDIA DOCA and other new features enabled in BlueField OS version 3.6

DPU automatic configuration tool 1.0 (coming soon)

DOCA is based on open APIs, such as DPDK for network and security, and UCX RDMA and SPDK for storage. It is fully compatible with all major operating systems and server virtualization platforms. Applications written using DOCA can run seamlessly on BlueField-2 and the subsequent NVIDIA DPU.