Cloud computing: Microsoft and Nvidia are building a 'massive' AI supercomputer. Here's why

The partnership makes Microsoft Azure the first public cloud to incorporate Nvidia's full AI stack -- its GPUs, networking, and AI software.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer
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Mimi Thian/Unsplash

Nvidia and Microsoft announced Wednesday a multi-year collaboration to build an AI supercomputer in the cloud, adding tens of thousands of Nvidia GPUs to Microsoft Azure

The new agreement makes Azure the first public cloud to incorporate Nvidia's full AI stack -- its GPUs, networking, and AI software. 

By beefing up Azure's infrastructure with Nvidia's full AI suite, more enterprises will be able to train, deploy, and scale AI -- including large, state-of-the-art models.

"AI technology advances as well as industry adoption are accelerating," Manuvir Das, Nvidia's VP of enterprise computing, said in a statement. "The breakthrough of foundation models has triggered a tidal wave of research, fostered new startups, and enabled new enterprise applications." 

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Azure instances already feature Nvidia A100 GPUs paired with Nvidia Quantum 200Gb/s InfiniBand networking. Future instances will be integrated with Nvidia H100 GPUs and Nvidia Quantum-2 400Gb/s InfiniBand networking.

Meanwhile, Nvidia's software suite, Nvidia AI Enterprise, is certified and supported on Microsoft Azure instances with A100 GPUs. Support for Azure instances with H100 GPUs will be added in a future software release.

Azure enterprise customers will also get access to Nvidia's full stack of AI workflows and software development kits, optimized for Azure. The companies will also collaborate to optimize Microsoft's DeepSpeed deep learning optimization software. 

The new deal also gives Nvidia the chance to use Azure VMs to advance its research in generative AI.

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