Smart network interface cards, or SmartNICs for short, are poised to shake up the way data centers are architected, thanks to new investments and products from Intel, Nvidia and other companies. Using technologies gained from its acquisition of Mellanox Technologies, Nvidia introduced in the fall a new family of SmartNIC products it refers to as data processing units, or DPUs, which consist of Mellanox ConnectX-6 SmartNICs, Arm processing cores and, in the case of a few products, Nvidia GPUs. The company said a single BlueField-2 DPU can deliver the same level of performance for software-defined networking, security and storage, plus infrastructure management, that 125 CPU cores can, meaning that CPUs will have headroom to deliver additional performance for enterprise applications. Intel is also pushing out new SmartNICs, including its FPGA-based Intel FPGA SmartNIC C5000X. AMD could also get in on the action with its planned $35 billion acquisition of Xilinx, which also makes FPGA-based SmartNICs. One semiconductor startup, Fungible, said its DPU-based rack solution can help consolidate workloads, increase utilization of storage media and improve footprint as well as dollars per IOPS by at least three times over existing software-defined solutions.