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Microsoft adds FPGA-powered network accelerator to Azure

Microsoft has announced a mysterious cloud hardware upgrade called "Azure Boost" that it claims will improve the performance of all future instance types in its big blue cloud.

"Azure Boost is a system designed by Microsoft that offloads server virtualization processes traditionally performed by the hypervisor and host OS onto purpose-built software and hardware," states a post from last week. "This offloading frees up CPU resources for the guest virtual machines, resulting in improved performance."

In other words, a SmartNIC/DPU/IPU – standard equipment for hyperscalers, including Microsoft, for a few years now. We asked Microsoft what's new or different about Azure Boost compared to its existing accelerators, but the tech giant didn't respond.

Microsoft's post adds that compatible Azure hosts include the "Microsoft Azure Network Adapter" (MANA) – a network interface card (NIC) that "includes the latest hardware acceleration features and provides competitive performance with a consistent ...

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