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NVIDIA and VMware combine to ease AI deployment in the enterprise

By Ken Wong - on 10 Mar 2021, 10:09am

NVIDIA and VMware combine to ease AI deployment in the enterprise

Some of the AI use cases. Image courtesy of NVIDIA.

NVIDIA today announced NVIDIA AI Enterprise, a software suite of enterprise-grade AI tools and frameworks optimised, certified and supported by NVIDIA, exclusively running on VMware vSphere 7 Update 2, that VMware announced separately.

NVIDIA and VMware first announced a partnership at VMworld 2020 where they revealed that Nvidia’s set of AI software-research tools on the Nvidia NGC hub will be integrated into VMware’s vSphere, Cloud Foundation, and Tanzu platforms.

This gives NVIDIA a pool of enterprise customers able to deploy their NVIDIA AI Enterprise in their data centres at scale. NVIDIA, AI Enterprise for vSphere is supported on NVIDIA-Certified Systems which include high-volume servers from Dell Technologies, HPE, Lenovo and Supermicro.


Unlocking the power of AI

Where NVIDIA AI Enterprise will sit. Image courtesy of NVIDIA.

With the NVIDIA AI Enterprise software suite, customers have access to the tools needed to develop AI solutions for their pain points, such as advanced diagnostics in healthcare, smart factories for manufacturing, and fraud detection in financial services. They can then deploy the workloads in their data centres using the tools they already use within their data centres.

NVIDIA and VMware hope that this familiarity will help accelerate AI adoption as customers have already used the tools within their data centres and can now extend existing infrastructure across for AI development and deployment. It becomes easier for them to manage all applications with a single set of operations, and deploy AI-ready infrastructure where the data resides, across their data centre, cloud, and edge.

Some of the joint benefits VMware and NVIDIA hope to bring to AI. Image courtesy of NVIDIA.

VMware is making Tanzu GPU acceleration available in early access, and the automation of deploying GPUs with Kubernetes on VMware vSphere will continue to get more automated over time.

While Tanzu offers Kubernetes containerisation orchestration on vSphere, the initial early access of the NVIDIA AI Enterprise software will run fine in virtual machines as there are many use cases that don’t require Kubernetes, an NVIDIA spokesperson said.

The NVIDIA software suite provides scale-out, multi-node, AI application performance on vSphere that is indistinguishable from bare-metal servers. According to NVIDIA, vSphere brings performance that is virtually indistinguishable from bare metal and the management tools to make it easy for customers to use due to familiarity. 

Justin Boitano, vice president and general manager of Enterprise and Edge Computing at NVIDIA said that so far, the world has been running AI on bare-metal servers. “NVIDIA AI Enterprise enables customers to reduce AI model development time from 80 weeks to just eight weeks and allows them to deploy and manage advanced AI applications on VMware vSphere with the same scale-out, record-breaking NVIDIA accelerated computing performance that’s possible on bare metal.”


Not NVIDIA’s first AI rodeo

NVIDIA has been involved in enterprise AI for quite a while. Besides speaking at VMworld 2020, as recently as June 2020 they launched a GPU in a plug-in PCIe form factor dubbed the A100 PCIe.

The company also used its experience in gaming to develop the NVIDIA GameGAN. This is basically an acronym for generative adversarial networks. By utilising two competing neural networks, termed as a generator and a discriminator respectively, the program can ingest screen recordings and agent keystrokes to functionally replicate the original game.


Pricing and availability

NVIDIA AI Enterprise is available as a perpetual license at US$3,595 per CPU socket. Enterprise Business Standard Support for NVIDIA AI Enterprise is US$899 annually per license. Customers can apply for early access to NVIDIA AI Enterprise as they plan their upgrades to VMware vSphere 7 Update 2.

For more information on bringing AI to VMware hybrid clouds, read the NVIDIA blog and the VMware vSphere 7 Update 2 release blog.

We will update with local pricing once available. 

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