Wednesday, May 25, 2022

NVIDIA ups its game by acquiring HPC for an undisclosed amount

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Nvidia is expanding its enterprise software offering by purchasing Bright Computing, a company that manages HPC clusters, for an undisclosed sum. Unlike Nvidia’s ongoing effort to acquire semiconductor IP company Arm Ltd., which has been stymied by regulatory challenges in the United States, Europe, and the United Kingdom, the Bright deal is a straightforward acquisition that, according to Nvidia, aims to broaden Bright’s reach and expand new opportunities across Nvidia’s customer base.

“When we started talking to [Bright] on the acquisition side, our companies’ structure, our values, and the way we do support, the way we do service and sales were identical, the way we go to market, it was very similar too, so it just made a lot of sense,” said Charlie Boyle, VP and GM of DGX systems at Nvidia, in an interview with HPCwire. “It is going to both enable the Bright ecosystem to grow, not only on-premises but in hybrid cloud, which is a huge expansion area. And it is also going to help on the Nvidia side, on core tools that customers have asked us about, but that we just did not have the expertise to develop in house or did not have the time to do because we were focused on accelerated computing, not necessarily heterogeneous systems. Now, we just inherit all of that.”

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Bright Computing, which was spun off from ClusterVision in 2009, creates software that simplifies the creation and maintenance of Linux clusters on-premises, in the cloud, and across hybrid infrastructures. For more than a decade, Nvidia has collaborated with Bright, integrating Bright Cluster Manager with Nvidia GPUs, CUDA, and, most recently, the company’s DGX systems. In a corporate blog post, Boyle said, “Now we see an opportunity to combine our system software capabilities to make HPC datacenters easier to acquire, build, and manage, generating a far larger future for HPC.”

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Channel and OEM partners sell Bright Cluster Manager on a subscription and support basis. This business model, according to Nvidia, will remain intact. “With no change to the customer, the same persons who could offer Bright previously can continue to sell Bright,” Boyle added. Boyle added that expanded access via the Nvidia partner network (NPN) will happen this quarter and that other synergies like bundling and co-support are being investigated.

graphic chip giant nvidia acquires hpc software company bright computing

Those AI workloads could be implemented on a single system just a few years ago, he noted, but that is changing. “More and more, multi-system deployments are taking place.” They’ve been planned. And that’s exactly what businesses want to do: they want to deploy massive language models, get into recommenders, and all of that. However, they are completely unaware of how to operate in an HPC cluster. And that’s exactly where Bright’s wonderful work over the years, establishing that software and those management interfaces, has paid off.”

Customers’ most common request these days is how to make all of these things work together, and this is where the Bright acquisition will help them, according to Boyle.

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After the acquisition, Nvidia will continue to support and invest in Bright software’s pure x86 capabilities, according to Boyle. “We see [x86 cluster management] as being crucial in the future since whatever accelerated computing job we have must execute on a CPU,” he said. “However, the many items in those entire workflows are increasingly requiring preprocessing. Some of those workloads operate on x86 and don’t have any accelerators, but they’re critical for getting your data ready and running your AI job.”

Bright Computing’s CEO, Bill Wagner, stated in a statement that the company will continue to operate as usual following the acquisition. The Bright software development team will become part of the wider Nvidia software engineering department, with the Amsterdam headquarters remaining primarily as a Bright software development unit. Wagner will join Nvidia’s global field operations group as an executive, while Bright CTO Martijn de Vries will continue to manage Bright Cluster Manager development.

also read:

Intel shuffles its management after the poaching of David Zinser

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Nivedita Bangari
Nivedita Bangari
I am a software engineer by profession and technology is my love, learning and playing with new technologies is my passion.

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