Nvidia claims storage IOPS record with BlueField DPUs

Nvidia claims to have achieved a record storage IOPS with its special BlueField GPUs acting as SmartNICs. The chip supplier wants to demonstrate that the DPUs deliver extremely high storage IOPS for faster processing speeds in data centers.

DPUs, also known as SmartNICs, are network cards with their own powerful processor. The DPUs are often deployed in data centers to run specific workloads such as firewalls and encryption, freeing up space for other processors to run more important tasks, such as AI or analytics workloads.

Hyperscalers like AWS, Azure and Google often use SmartNICs in their data center environments to run standard data center scenarios.

Test configuration and execution

In the test performed, Nvidia used two 100 GB Ethernet BlueField GPUs in two separate HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen 10 Plus servers. The configuration also consisted of Intel Ice Lake Xeon Platinum 8380 CPUs, 512GB of DRAM, 120MB of L3 cache (60MB per socket), and a PCIe Gen4 bus.

The BlueField DPUs provided a 4000 Gbps wired bandwidth between the initiator and the target. In addition, the Storage Performance Development Kit (SPDK) and FIO test were used and the Linux kernel was targeted.

The configuration yielded 41.5 million IOPS in the test. According to Nvidia, this is up to four times more than any other DPU currently available. The record IOPS shows that Nvidia’s BlueField DPUs can deliver massive performance and greater efficiency within data centers for applications servers and storage appliances, among others.

Lots of potential for DPUs

According to experts from Nvidia, the test with the record IOPS achieved shows that the BlueField DPUs are able to fully utilize a 4000 Gbps network. This is especially useful for AI applications that need data as quickly as possible. The Nvidia DPUs are able to provide the sufficient power to make this possible.

Several security and network hardware suppliers are already showing interest in the Nvidia BlueField GPUs.