Nvidia builds AI LaunchPad in the cloud with Equinix

Nvidia's new server platform is designed to harness the power of 16 Tesla V100 Tensor Core GPUs (Image wellesenterprises / iStockPhoto)
Nvidia is looking to make it easier for companies to try AI without having to spend big on new servers. (wellesenterprises / iStockPhoto)

If we fail to evolve to a point where almost everyone in the world relies on AI in some fashion, it won’t be for Nvidia’s lack of commitment to that vision. The company continues to hammer away at the notion of democratizing AI so that a broader array of businesses can leverage the technology. 

Its newest offering, announced today, is a comprehensive AI platform made available for easy consumption through hybrid cloud providers. This platform, AI LaunchPad, initially will be available through Nvidia cloud partner Equinix. Nvidia explained that as AI proliferates through enterprises and their applications, companies will need to access application resources that might be distributed across public and private clouds. AI LaunchPad via Platform Equinix will allow them to access those resources in minutes for an hourly fee and deploy them to distributed locations, according to Justin Boitano, vice president and general manager of enterprise edge computing at Nvidia.

“AI is the superpower that is going to be part of everybody’s lives and everyday life,” Boitano said, noting that Nvidia has made an array of processor hardware and software announcements over the last several months to create a foundation of AI capabilities that enterprises in multiple industries can leverage. “Now, it’s time to build the house on top of that foundation to speed up AI adoption for every industry. With LaunchPad, companies can use a cloud-like consumption model to get started with AI rather than having to buy servers through capex.”

Boitano did not disclose the exact pricing for AI LaunchPad, but said it would be on the order of “dollars per hour,” adding that it will be “a cup of coffee per hour to get access to this infrastructure.” Nvidia is targeting later this summer for availability of AI LaunchPad.

AI LaunchPad also can be combined with Nvidia’s Base Command Platform, also available on a subscription plan, to develop and manage advanced AI workloads on Nvidia DGX SuperPODs. In addition, enterprises will be able to use Base Command on Nvidia-Certified Systems from leading manufacturers like Dell Technologies and Lenovo, and access the company’s AI Enterprise software suite on VMware vSphere to deploy an AI-ready enterprise platform that scales AI on hybrid clouds, Nvidia said.

In addition to the AI LaunchPad unveiling, Nvidia also announced the general availability for Nvidia Fleet Command, a previously-announced managed service which allows customers a single control plane to deploy and manage AI applications across distributed edge infrastructure. The service also is available via Equinix.

It remains to be seen how deeply Nvidia’s ongoing democratization strategy may be able to drive AI into companies that have been unsure about their need and ability to manage AI processing and applications. However, Boitano said most of the enterprises he talks to are “not asking ‘Why should I do AI?’ They are saying ‘Show me how to do AI’ because they want to educate their stakeholders on how it can be used to drive new efficiency.”

Whether or not those companies rely on AI LaunchPad as a long-term strategy for how they consume and use AI tools “frankly doesn’t matter to Nvidia. They can use our software as a service to get started,” Boitano said, adding, “Our job is to provide an accelerant.”

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