vSphere 8.0 enables breakthrough workload performance to meet the throughput and latency needs of modern distributed workloads by accelerating networking functions on data processing units (DPUs). With vSphere Distributed Services Engine, infrastructure services are distributed across the different compute resources available on the ESXi host, with networking functions offloaded to the DPU.

Modern applications are developed using a microservices architecture approach, which seeks to break down the application into multiple independent but cooperating services. This increased complexity places new demand for the CPU. For example, processing storage requests or shuttling network traffic for these microservices leaves fewer CPU cycles for the actual workload. In this context, purpose-built accelerators such as DPUs can take on the new compute burden and help you improve the performance and efficiency of infrastructure.

With vSphere Distributed Services Engine, DPUs can accelerate the performance of your network and increase data throughput, while placing no operational burden of managing the lifecycle of DPUs, as the existing Day-0, Day-1, and Day-2 vSphere experience does not change. At launch, vSphere Distributed Services Engine is supported by DPUs from NVIDIA and AMD, and server designs from Dell and HPE. vSphere Distributed Services Engine is available on servers with pre-installed DPUs. You cannot install DPUs separately in your environment or use Distributed Services Engine without pre-installed DPUs.

Figure 1. Starting with vSphere 8.0, VMware moves functionality that runs on the core CPU complex to the DPU CPU complex:
VMware moves functionality that runs on the core CPU complex to the DPU CPU complex to enable network acceleration.

vSphere Distributed Services Engine offloads and accelerates infrastructure functions on the DPU by introducing a VMware vSphere Distributed Switch on the DPU and VMware NSX Networking and Observability, which allows to proactively monitor, identify, and mitigate network infrastructure bottlenecks without complex network taps. The DPU becomes a new control point to scale infrastructure functions and enables security controls that are agentless and decoupled from the workload domain.

With vSphere Distributed Services Engine, you can:

vSphere Distributed Services Engine does not require a separate ESXi license. An internal network that is isolated from other networks, connects the DPUs with ESXi hosts. ESXi 8.0 server builds are unified images, which contain both x86 and DPU content. In your vSphere system, you see DPUs as new objects during installation and upgrade, and in networking, storage, and host profile workflows.