The News: VMware Inc and Nvidia Corp on Tuesday announced an effort to make VMware’s software for managing data centers work better with Nvidia’s artificial intelligence (AI) chips.
VMware makes software that helps businesses get more work out of data center servers by slicing physical machines into “virtual” ones so that more applications can be packed onto each physical machine. Its tools are commonly used by large businesses that operate their own data centers as well as businesses that use cloud computing data centers. Read the full release on Reuters.
Analyst Take: Today’s joint announcement from NVIDIA and VMware marks an important moment for taking the powerful capabilities of VMware’s software that have long been utilized to run traditional software on CPUs and evolve these capabilities to handle the growing demand of delivering similar capabilities for AI workloads running on GPUs, in this case NVIDIA’s market leading GPUs.
What the NVIDIA and VMware Partnership Offers
Effectively, with this announcement, VMware and Nvidia are integrating the NVIDIA’s artificial intelligence applications for unified management of apps, security and data processing unit accelerators. Perhaps more importantly, the partnership acts as validation of Nvidia’s role in hybrid clouds, which have gained significant momentum in the past few years, as VMware outlined an architecture that incorporates data processing units (DPUs) in the data center, cloud and edge. Specifically, AI software on Nvidia’s NGC hub will be integrated into VMware vSphere, Cloud Foundation and Tanzu.
I believe much like VMware, as well as offerings like RedHat, Azure Arc and HPE Container Platform, have democratized hybrid cloud, the expectation of this partnership is the ability to speed up the deployment of AI workloads and speed up enterprise AI adoption.
Project Monterey Brings Arm into the Fold
As part of today’s release, VMware and Nvidia also announced that they will partner on what is being called “Project Monterey” to create an architecture based on SmartNIC technology and include Nvidia’s programmable BlueField-2 DPU to support machine learning and data-focused apps. Interestingly, this will be based upon an Arm-powered DPU.
As a result of this partnership, the companies outlined the following integrations.
- The integration of Nvidia NGC with VMware vSphere and Cloud Foundation will simplify the use of AI workloads using containers and virtual machines.
- Access to NGC’s cloud GPU optimized containers, models, and software developer kits for data scientists, researchers and developers
- A set of pre-tested Nvidia A100 servers from vendors like Dell Technologies, HPE and Lenovo in which the NGC software will be supported on.
- The two companies will collaborate on hybrid cloud architecture which will support a new security model that offloads hypervisor, networking, security and storage tasks from the CPU to the DPU. VMware will extend the VMware Cloud Foundation model to bare metal servers.
- Per the release, “Project Monterey” is in technical preview and features the Nvidia Bluefield 2 DPU with VMware Cloud Foundation.
Overall Impressions of the NVIDIA and VMware Announcements
It is my impression that this partnership has the merits to gain immediate momentum as the two companies working together here are seeking to solve a bigger challenge of making AI more available and usable at scale for more enterprises and organizations. The development and access of GPU optimized containers and models, for instance, is an important toolbox for developers and data scientists. Furthermore, offering certified hardware and building the Bluefield-2 (DPU) to handle tasks that arguably function better on the DPU than the CPU are all examples of the evolution of the datacenter and the growing role of AI and new chip architectures to support the applications and workloads that will be most in demand in the future.
An important and interesting partnership to watch develop as NVIDIA continues to gain momentum in the datacenter.
Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.
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Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. Read Full Bio