VMware to acquire Bitfusion for virtualizing AI accelerators

The Austin-based company has created an elastic and virtual OS for hardware accelerators.

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VMware on Thursday announced its plans to acquire Bitfusion, an Austin, Texas-based company that has created an elastic and virtual OS for hardware accelerators. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.  

Once the deal closes, VMware plans to use Bitfusion's technology to support AI- and machine learning-based workloads on premise and in hybrid cloud environments.  Its platform will be integrated into the vSphere platform.

There are a number of hardware architectures, such as GPUs (graphics processor units), FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays) and ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits), that can be used to power AI-based workloads, but they're deployed with bare-metal practices. 

"This provides a perfect opportunity to virtualize them—providing increased sharing of resources and lowering costs," VMware said in a blog post. 

Bitfusion's software platform decouples specific physical resources from the servers they are attached to in the environment. Their focus is on GPUs, but the platform can be extended to support other accelerators like FPGAs and ASICs. It also works across AI frameworks, clouds, networks and formats such as virtual machines and containers.

"In many ways, Bitfusion offers for hardware acceleration what VMware offered to the compute landscape several years ago," the VMware blog post said.