DPU is another hot spot after artificial intelligence chips.
Insiders joked that those investors are more enthusiastic about DPU than those who make DPU.
When someone asked what the DPU chip is, a familiar female voice floated from the startup company: “Alipay is in the account, RMB 100 million.” That’s right, the amount of financing often reaches 100 million.
Not to mention the big Internet companies, the Guozi Head Fund also hid behind the sword, staring straight at the DPU, waiting for opportunities.
Cloud vendors’ desire for DPU chips is hysterical. People who make DPU are forced to spurt blood from their nostrils and fire in their eyes.
There is a saying in the market that DPU has only two brands-Amazon Cloud and Alibaba Cloud, among others.
The story of DPU starts from a long time ago.
In 1998, on the field of Stanford University in the United States, the sharp green grass was gently touched by the sun.
Outside the stadium, some parents are waiting to pick up their children home. Some of them are colleagues from Stanford University and their families.
With nothing to do, the two in the parent group started chatting.
”What are you up to lately?”
”Starting a business.”
”What’s the direction of starting a business?”
”You can run multiple operating systems on one computer.”
The man who asked the question was gentle, his eyes lit up suddenly when he heard the answer. I blurted out: “This idea is very good, very fresh.” I
am most afraid of a pop artist, and when I meet a pop artist, I will burst into flames as soon as I chat.
The two parents, on the side of the stadium, reached an investment intention on the spot.
This parent, no, this early investor who took the spot on the spot, has a refined temperament and a personable demeanor.
He is Zhang Shousheng, a well-known Chinese physicist and a lover of Yang Zhenning. He is mainly engaged in research in the field of condensed matter physics and is a tenured professor at Stanford University.
The parent who started the business is not simple. The name is Diane Green (Diane Green), a talented female manager who has been an executive since the start of the business and has been in charge of the company for ten years.
Later, she also managed Google Cloud for a while.
This operation stunned the children.
Another child’s father, Diane Green’s husband, is a Stanford University professor, Mendel Rosenblum (Mendel Rosenblum, Professor Luo for short), the company’s chief scientist, and a world-class expert in the field of operating systems. .
At that time, the couple had just left on their way to start a business, and the company’s name was VMware.
More than two decades later, this company became a giant in the field of virtualization technology.
The terminology of computer technology often gleams with rational light, and the word “virtualization”, at first glance, is too illusory, and it has a fascinating and mysterious temperament that can be pinched to death.
Not surprisingly, the beginning of virtualization technology: academic research station C.
The few universities are doing research, Stanford University in the United States and Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.
A handful of companies are exploring, IBM, Intel, and Microsoft.
The 1970s was the golden age of virtual academic research, and many academic papers laid a theoretical foundation for this direction.
In science and technology, essays alone are not enough. You have to take things out and use them.
Waiting for the birth of a representative company, it will be heartbroken year after year, from the 70s to the 90s, the first 20 years.
According to VMware CEO Diane Green, Professor Luo returned home one night and talked about work. He said: “I want to re-examine virtualization, introduce isolation into the operating system, and run both old and new code without having to build a new one. Operating system.”
Thoughts poured out of his brain like a flood, Professor Luo was very excited, and the next day he woke up, he began to make prototypes.
Soon after, the surging power of action allowed Professor Luo and his students to virtualize X86 servers.
The scientist’s circle of friends is often radiant. The founders gathered five experts, opened up the formation, and launched an assault on virtualization. This time it is recorded in the annals of history.
”Take down” X86, opening up a new situation in which virtualization is shifting from defense to offense.
According to legend, the culture of virtualization technology companies is different from that of Internet companies.
When students from Stanford University in the United States closed their eyes and picked an offer, they said that Google’s culture attracts young people, kicking dogs to work, and partying in pajamas, while VMware employees can safely get married and have children in the company.
Subsequently, the academic sent the ball to the side, and the virtual PC received the ball.
Although in the era of small PCs, virtualization is not just needed, but it has created a new way of playing hardware, and has boiled the blood of geeks.
Carefully ask, is virtualization cheating the CPU? Confidently answer: CPU has a kind of “ability” to be deceived.
Virtualization technology is very powerful, but we still have to guard against arrogance and rashness. The road ahead is still long.
There is no doubt that VMware is successful. When the open source world rises, software throws off the domination of commercial software, and open source geeks take to the stage.
Please remember the spirit of these two virtualization technologies (collar) and partners (sleeves), because they are vital to the development of DPU.
Sort by strokes of last name: Anthony Liguori (Anthony Liguori), American. Zhang Xiantao, Chinese.
In 2001, Professor Ian Pratt took a few doctoral students in the Computer Laboratory of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom to do a very well-known virtualization project called Xen project.
The pronunciation of Xen is a bit similar to “than”, but not exactly the same. The pronunciation does not stick out the tongue.
Xen has a large and vibrant development community that has profoundly affected cloud computing, virtualization, and security.
Two years later, the first stable version of the Xen X86 virtual machine monitor came out.
In 2004, Zhang Xiantao was studying for a PhD at Wuhan University. After many years of cold window, he has not worked hard, he has a strong technical level and a stronger hands-on ability. There is no need to worry about where the technology gods go, but Zhang Xiantao is still a little worried, because the career options of virtualization technology are too small.
To be a PhD student, diligence is very important, and it is also important to have a good PhD supervisor.
Zhang Xiantao’s doctoral supervisor is Qing Sihan, a world-renowned cryptographer. Zhang Xiantao must have spent a lot of luck before meeting such a good mentor.
He looked kindly said Zhang Xiantao: “Virtualization in this direction, and I have Intel collaboration, where you go to practice, do not worry, I can help you arrange the rest depends on your own.”
Now it seems Professor Qing Sihan sent Zhang Xiantao to the company for internship, completely considering the interests of the students. (Some doctoral supervisors are reluctant to let doctoral students go out to work, so I will omit three thousand words here).
Therefore, Zhang Xiantao started as an Intel intern and did it for 3 years. Time flies and the level of technology soars, he officially joined Intel in 2008.
He may not have thought that this job will last 9 years.
Panning the camera to IBM in the United States in 2002, another frontier of virtualization.
A college student named Anthony Li Guorui has been doing an internship at IBM during his studies at the school, 20 hours a week, for four consecutive years, uninterrupted.
In 2006, Anthony joined the IBM Linux Technology Center as a software engineer. This job lasted 7 years.
In this life, a person finds a technology that he really loves as a hobby, and then spends time and patience regardless of cost, and polishes it with heart. The harvest will be more than a skill that can be obtained.
More importantly, there is a reborn self.
Perhaps one evening, the red clouds dyed the sky, Zhang Xiantao was looking at the clouds, and Anthony was looking at the clouds, there may be a moment when they all realize that they are going to deal with the poetic technology of this name for a lifetime.
Karma in the world, karma in the world.
In the chip arena, there are some people, there are wine, there are stories, there are voices criticizing Intel.
In the era when the PC is king, because virtualization is not the mainstream, Intel’s X86 instruction set is very unfriendly to virtualization services.
This pot, Intel was back, but also back to the 2005
Intel was greeted in the year, a friendly attitude, which made some in the CPU instruction set extensions.
This time a heavy blow has reversed the world of virtualization.
In November of that year, Intel announced that its products supported hardware virtualization (VT-x, VT-d), and AMD followed suit and announced that its products supported hardware virtualization (SVM).
Don’t look at the late arrival, but this set of technology is also hard-core party, and it is also great to be able to make it.
But Intel’s “criminal” is also very obvious-inefficient.
VMware’s eyes are quick and quick, and Intel has been slammed.
Imitating King Luo Bin’s crusade against Wu Zetian, he published a famous “Essay” to crusade against Intel.
Blaming the extended instruction set supporting virtualization for inefficiency and not as good as the one made by my own (here refers to VMware’s “binary translation”).
Blaming others, taking the opportunity to praise yourself, nothing wrong.
After this incident, you can also get a glimpse of the status of VMware, and criticize others, you have to be straightforward.
After this change, virtualization has full firepower support from CPU chip manufacturers, as if the double-speed playback button was pressed.
This is the shortcoming of virtualization, and it was rescued for the first time.
At that time, Intel didn’t work in vain, spitting on the banknotes, and was happy. Supporting Xen is exactly the same as supporting Linux. Virtualization drives the ecosystem, and everyone loves user stickiness.
The sun outside the window was just right, it was time for dinner, white clouds passed by in the sky, there was no great change in the world, and cloud computing quietly changed.
Amazon Cloud grabbed the first ticket to cloud computing. As soon as the clarion call of cloud computing was sounded, open source quickly occupied the C position.
Xen is full of confidence. Ian Pratt, chief scientific officer and professor of Cambridge University Computer Laboratory, said: “Microsoft is on the way to catch up with us.”
This is true, and Microsoft’s products are indeed inspired by Xen.
For a while, Red Hat, Sun Microsystems, Suse Linux, and Xen were everywhere. For a while, it seems that anything new will germinate in Xen.
Xen is surrounded by applause, and even the cloud giants stretch out an olive branch. In 2006, Amazon Cloud (EC2) launched the first instance type (m1.small) using Xen.
Xen boarded the first cloud, and since then, it has become a new force in cloud computing.
Virtualization technology is raging, and Microsoft is very unconvinced. It quietly acquired Softricity, a virtualization manufacturer located in Boston, USA, and quickly announced the timetable for introducing new virtual machine management products for Windows Server.
”Don’t rush, I’m buying it.” The
follow-up is that Microsoft has once again revealed its true qualities as a local tyrant, and has repeatedly shot multiple startup companies for virtualization.
This also reflects from the side that the virtualization technology is niche, difficult, and critical. Even Microsoft is dumb and eats Coptis chinensis, and there are hardships to tell.
In 2007, Intel released VT-x, which enhanced many functions and surpassed VMware’s binary translation technology.
VMware’s inner monologue: criticizing Intel, hastily.
In 2009, research firm Gartner predicted that three technologies will dominate virtualization: VMware’s ESX Server, Xen and Microsoft’s Viridian hypervisor.
Some technical predictions (divination), listen to it, don’t take it seriously.
Positive comments said loudly that Xen was one of the industry standards at the time and was very mature. Negative reviews say in a low voice, Xen’s architecture is very complex, the code chain is very long, and the kernel changes are relatively large.
Xen is a very good project, but it is really too complicated. There are no more than 50 people in the world who really understand the Xen architecture. Most people stay at this level only.
Furthermore, Xen is still a traditional virtualization technology.
The traditional structure of Xen determines that the burden on it is particularly heavy. It has to be busy with many things, protecting physical hardware, protecting BIOS, virtualized CPU, virtualized storage, virtualized network, and many management functions.
Xen is too cumbersome and destined to exit, but the emergence of Xen has opened the door to the open source world for virtualization.
In the dream, it took decades and tens of thousands of miles to blow virtualization into the open source world.
In 2014, the same open source KVM came.
As a member of the Linux family (appearing in the form of components), this lightweight super management program, with its light weight, sweeps the world.
At this time, VMware’s life is not booming. For closed-source commercial software, it is inconvenient for cloud vendors to make changes regardless of the cost.
Don’t forget that the early DPU architectures of Amazon Cloud and Alibaba Cloud can see Xen and KVM.
Ask whether this mountain is the highest in the world, or if there is another place higher than the sky. The miserable young man behind the open source community hides in the open source rivers and lakes, practicing stunts hard.
Virtualization technology more than ten years ago was immature. Looking at the whole world, there are not many people who do research on virtualization technology.
The most powerful and respected person in the open source community has a unified title, Maintainer (software maintainer), is also a high-level code contributor, in charge of the design and planning of open source projects, has an in-depth understanding of the overall situation, and In the future, there are also unique insights.
Anthony is the maintainer of QEMU. Zhang Xiantao is the author and maintainer of KVM cross-platform support and KVM/IA64.
QEMU was once the world’s premier system emulator and virtualizer. QEMU supports Xen and KVM, and is widely deployed in most cloud environments.
From Xen to KVM, Anthony and Zhang Xiantao’s technology advances by leaps and bounds, breaking the ceiling every day. As long as the performance problem is solved, any posture will be available.
You must know that it is very difficult to solve performance faults or errors (Bugs) at the bottom of the system, and you can hold the throat of the entire project with your hand, making people immobile.
Anthony and Zhang Xiantao have “coincidences” constantly appearing on them.
Zhang Xiantao and Anthony have intersections in the Xen and KVM open source communities. They are geeks in the well-known community and have made countless open source players admire them.
After many interviews and reports, when they introduced themselves, they all said one sentence: “I have always been working in the direction of virtualization.” The
same thing is said in Chinese and the other in English.
As long as there is a hot news about virtualization security, foreign technology media will be proud of interviewing Anthony. Zhang Xiantao was the first batch of domestic KVM participants.
Behind the coincidence, it is often inevitable.
In 2013, Anthony joined Amazon Cloud.
In 2014, Zhang Xiantao joined Alibaba Cloud as the two most powerful people in the virtualization open source community.
Nowadays, the leading cloud computing vendors are leading the DPU technological change.
More coincidentally, one is in charge of the Nitro system and the other is in charge of the Shenlong system.
The DPUs of Amazon Cloud and Alibaba Cloud both draw the essence of the open source virtualization software Xen and KVM. Cloud computing has brought about the prosperity of virtualization technology and realized a technological leap.
At this time, virtualization experts have changed from the treasure of hardware vendors to the treasure of cloud computing vendors and large Internet companies.
Such as being eliminated at the age of 35, in front of these people, pure ass let go.
Everyone realizes that virtualization technology is “valuable” and is coming in droves. Unfortunately, the threshold is high.
Virtualization is a very difficult technology. Virtual machines are an abstraction of the real computing environment. Many people are stumped by the word “abstraction”.
The operating system kernel is already a sweeping monk-level skill, while virtualization is a loneliness.
Zhang Xiantao said: “In the past, we thought the operating system kernel was the most difficult to understand, and also the most complicated system software. There are many very senior kernel engineers in the industry who switched to virtualization. . ”
Because virtualization is another layer of abstraction, its difficulty is greatly increased, and it is necessary to use software to implement hardware.
In an era when cloud vendors did not have virtualization experts, Amazon Cloud also sought Intel’s people to solve the problem.
More than a decade ago, the story of Intel engineers’ FireWire rescue cloud vendors was almost forgotten.
In 2010, Alibaba Cloud plans to release the product (ECS1.0) on May 10.
At that time, engineers from three companies squeezed into Alibaba Cloud to work hard. After attacking for more than a month, some people would have their heads anxiously bald. Seeing the day, there was still a hurdle.
About 1,000 servers, after running for one night, a strange thing will always happen, the hard disk can’t be found.
The hard drive was also aggrieved: “I’m offline.” The
attack team was forced to a corner, and they came up with a responsible inference: the problem is either with the chipset or with the chip. The tough team is yelling, so Intel has to send someone, hurry up.
When life is hanging by a thread, no matter who Intel sends, people will be stared at, and they can’t wait to use a stopwatch to time.
Unexpectedly, after Intel’s experts came to the scene, they looked at (all the configurations), thought for a while, and then said: “just change a parameter.”
The person who counted the time, looked at the following table, and it took about 3000 seconds (50 minutes) from getting the Alibaba Cloud server log to getting it done.
The relief at this moment, the Alibaba Cloud engineers present will never forget it.
This matter caused a foreign aid inside Alibaba Cloud to make a small fire.
Who knows that soon after, Zhang Wensong of Alibaba Cloud asked the team a question: If you want to dig a person who does the best in virtualization, who should you dig?
Who is Zhang Wensong? The founder of Linux virtual server, the god of open source, the former CTO and chief scientist of Alibaba Cloud.
The engineers of Alibaba Cloud do not need to leave the keyboard with their hands or lift their heads, just open their mouths: Zhang Xiantao.
Coincidentally. Someone told me: “In 2000, Amazon Cloud hadn’t gotten Anthony out of it, and the virtualization problem could not be solved, and Intel had to rely on it. Because of virtualization engineers, Amazon Cloud was also lacking.”
Amazon Cloud, with Anthony.
Alibaba Cloud has Zhang Xiantao.
If you don’t meet the hermit seeker, where is the master of virtualization? Without knowing where the cloud is deep, they gathered in IBM, Intel, and Red Hat.
A well-informed source revealed that around 2008, Intel’s Shanghai office had about a dozen people in the virtualization team. After cloud computing drives the popularity of virtualization technology, the world has come to dig people.
Since then, many virtual talents have stayed in the United States until now.
People fight for a breath, and the Buddha receives a stick of incense. Why do cloud vendors suffocate their breath and engage in chips?
The answer is: who is suffering, who is uncomfortable, who is driving crazy, who knows.
Zhang Xiantao’s earnest tone is impressive: “Even if it’s not the Dragon Team, Alibaba Cloud will have another team to make DPU.”
As we all know, the scale of the servers of cloud computing vendors is now. When the scale expands and the number of users grows, the desire for DPU becomes eager.
Hundreds of thousands of servers are waiting to be fed every day.
In Anthony’s mind, he should have repeatedly asked the essential question of DPU many times:
”In order to get better products, we have to design hardware, and we have to design a hardware platform specifically for virtualization. It is not general software, not general hardware. ”
Looking back, there is no retreat. DPU appeared in the best technological change period. Customizing hardware acceleration with DPU has become the most correct direction.