Home Cloud Nvidia and Microsoft put Tesla GPUs in Azure cloud

Microsoft and Nvidia have teamed up to push AI on premises and in the cloud.

A deal between the two companies has resulted in Microsoft's Cognitive Toolkit being optimised for Nvidia's DGX-1 supercomputer in a box, and the installation of Nvidia GPUs in Azure data centres.

Microsoft's Cognitive Toolkit is the technology behind the Cortana assistant, the Skype language translator, the Bing search engine, and Hololens augmented reality.

Cognitive Toolkit has been optimised to run on systems using Nvidia's Tesla GPUs. Where a conventional dual-socket server running AlexNet on the Cognitive Toolkit can train 78 images per second, a single Tesla P100 can do 2400 images per second, according to Nvidia vice-president of solutions architecture and engineering Marc Hamilton.

Two P100s pushes that to 3500, and four to 7600. And a DGX-1 with eight P100s can achieve 13,000 images per second.

The Cognitive Toolkit with Nvidia support is available for use on premises or in the Azure cloud. In the latter case, using Nvidia GPUs provides between 10 and 14 times better price:performance than a conventional Azure HPC instance, said Hamilton.

Hybrid (Azure plus on premises) configurations are also supported, he said.

The announcement "really expands AI to the broadest set of organisations," said Hamilton.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.


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