At the Marvell Analyst Day 2023, the company showed off a new demo using its DPU that is extremely exciting. The new Marvell Octeon CN103 DPU is a PCIe DPU with fast Arm Neoverse N2 cores, providing a secure system on a PCIe card. We even got to snap a few quick phone photos of the card.
Marvell Octeon CN103 DPU 50Gbps Encryption on One Core
First off, the form factor is a big deal here. The Octeon CN103 DPU that we saw comes in a low-profile PCIe x8 form factor. This is an entire Arm system running on a PCIe card. It is also a lot easier to deploy in servers than the first Marvell Octeon 10 Arm Neoverse N2 DPU that we got hands-on with last year.
Onboard is the Octeon 10 DPU with eight Arm Neoverse N2 cores.
The CN103 is one of the families of DPUs. While the line goes up to 24 cores, this is a lower core count and lower power part.
On the end, we have a M.2 2242 (42mm) slot for a SSD. This can be important for things like running an OS but also for cache and logging where eMMC is not sufficient.
Here, we have a 100GbE MAC with a 60Gbps IPsec engine on the CN10308. There is also an out-of-band management port.
On the back we see more Micron DDR5 chips.
Here is the demo bringing this together. It is showing 50Gbps of encrypted traffic using VPP IPsec tunneling between two servers, each with a CN10308 DPU.
Offloading this much IPsec traffic saves several big cores on servers, and as we get to higher speeds, it becomes more critical. We discussed this a bit when we did our Intel Xeon D-2700 QuickAssist QAT Acceleration Deep-Dive. At this point, offloading crypto and compression from the main server CPU can yield huge results.
Now, the big questions are when can we get these cards, and when will the software stack be baked to make this almost a plug-and-play solution? We are hoping soon. A year ago the development platform for Octeon 10 looked like a motherboard. Now we have a low profile and low-power PCIe card.
It has been great progress over the last year. Hopefully, by the Marvell Analyst Day 2024, we will have already done a hands-on with these 5nm DPU cards.