Cisco Boosts Workload Security with NVIDIA BlueField-3 DPUs

In a significant advancement in cybersecurity, Cisco has announced the latest version of its Secure Workload solution, integrating NVIDIA’s BlueField-3 Data Processing Units (DPUs). This collaboration aims to enhance workload security and operational efficiency, addressing the growing sophistication of cyberattacks, according to NVIDIA Technical Blog.

Cisco Secure Workload Key Features

Cisco Secure Workload is designed to protect application workloads across various infrastructures. It provides unparalleled visibility into workload interactions and leverages AI to automate complex tasks. Key features include:

  • Microsegmentation: Isolates workloads and restricts lateral movement within the network, minimizing the attack surface.
  • Workload encryption: Ensures data encryption both at rest and in transit, safeguarding sensitive information.
  • Threat detection and prevention: Employs advanced mechanisms to identify and thwart malicious activities in real-time.
  • Automated incident response: Automates response procedures to swiftly contain and remediate threats.

Integration with NVIDIA BlueField-3 DPUs

The integration of NVIDIA BlueField-3 DPUs with Cisco Secure Workload introduces a new level of security and efficiency. BlueField DPUs, with dedicated Arm cores, offload security-critical tasks from virtual machines (VMs), freeing CPU resources for core application processing and improving overall performance.

BlueField DPUs are strategically placed in the data path between the network and VMs, enhancing data center security. Key features of BlueField DPUs include:

  • Hardware acceleration and offloading: Dedicated hardware accelerators for encryption, decryption, and data compression improve performance by offloading these tasks from the CPU.
  • Enhanced scalability: Hardware offloading capabilities accommodate more VMs without compromising performance.
  • Fortified security: Provides isolation between the network and VMs, preventing unauthorized access and complementing Cisco Secure Workload’s software-based protections.
  • Streamlined workload enforcement: Offloads security tasks to the DPU, enforcing security policies more efficiently.
  • Reduced latency: Offloading security functions to the BlueField-3 reduces latency, improving application response times.
  • Simplified operations: Centralized management of security policies reduces the complexity of security management.

BlueField Technical Advantage

BlueField DPUs significantly enhance the efficiency of Cisco Secure Workload by monitoring network traffic and providing actionable intelligence to prevent threats. With 16 Arm A78 cores, BlueField DPUs optimize high-performance packet processing applications, offloading compute- and data-intensive tasks from the CPU.

The combination of NVIDIA accelerated switching and packet processing (ASAP2) and NVIDIA DOCA enhances scalability and CPU efficiency. Offloading communication and Open vSwitch (OVS) processing to the BlueField DPU simplifies security management, reduces the need for multiple agent instances, and improves overall system performance.

BlueField DPUs also handle Access Control Lists (ACLs) processing, freeing the CPU for other tasks and improving system performance. The hardware acceleration of encryption and decryption of data in transit ensures data confidentiality without significantly impacting network performance.


Cisco Secure Workload, integrated with NVIDIA BlueField-3 DPU, represents a significant step forward in security and operational efficiency. This combination of hardware and software innovation provides robust protection without compromising performance, paving the way for a more secure and agile future for businesses of all sizes.

For more information, visit the NVIDIA Technical Blog.

Image source: Shutterstock

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