There’s a new processing unit in town. You already know the CPU (central processing unit) and GPU (graphics). Now get to know the IPU – that’s I for infrastructure.
An IPU is a programmable networking device designed to help improve security, reduce overhead and free up CPU performance by better balancing compute and storage. The target audience for IPUs includes cloud and communications providers, and large enterprises.
In theory, at least, the IPU solves a common server issue: CPUs getting so overloaded with system-level overhead and infrastructure processing, they can’t run core applications as quickly as they should.
Those overhead tasks include networking, storage and security. In other words, they’re important.
Yet by Intel’s estimate, a server processor can spend up to 40% of its cycles on infrastructure. And that’s 40% of the CPU’s capacity that it cannot dedicate to core applications.
The solution? The IPU’s big idea is that those overhead and infrastructure tasks don’t have to be done by the server’s CPU. Instead, they can be done by another processor, one specially designed for them. In the process, that frees up the CPU to do the work it was designed for, too.