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Nvidia dips its toes into IaaS with subscriptions for DGX SuperPOD AI supercomputers

They’ll be hosted by Equinix, owned by Nv, and include NetApp storage

Computex Nvidia has decided to become an infrastructure-as-a-service provider, at least for its own DGX SuperPOD AI supercomputers.

The SuperPOD combines 140 of Nvidia's DGX A100 units, hardware that can be thought of as blade servers that each house eight A100 Tensor Core GPUs. A SuperPOD cluster can thus scale to more than 1,000 GPUs.

Nvidia will offer DGX SuperPODs on a subscription basis. The graphics giant will own the SuperPODs, Equinix will host them, and NetApp provides storage hardware.

The graphics giant’s head of enterprise computing Manuvir Das told The Register the company sees subscriptions as an ideal on-ramp for users contemplating purchase of their own SuperPOD. Pricing starts at $90,000 per month.

That’s not chump change and nor is the purchase price of a SuperPOD. Nvidia has therefore created new software called Base Command that shares out a SuperPOD’s resources among multiple users. Base Command can also operate with Nvidia kit running in third-party clouds, starting with AWS and Google.

Das said Nvidia is working to make it possible for other server-makers to build DGX units into their own hardware, rather than selling the machines as standalone products. The plan is to make big GPU-driven rigs easier to acquire and operate for those who don’t want to build AI hardware silos.

Also at Computex, Nvidia announced several server makers have certified their systems to use its BlueField data-processing units (DPUs), aka SmartNICs that relieve server CPUs of the need to handle chores like network security by offering sufficient resources to run a firewall. The company also said it’s working to have BlueField certified for servers using Arm CPUs, both because it has its own Arm processors in the works and because it sees demand.

Subscription SuperPODS will only be offered in North America, for now, while Equinix finds some rackspace in other territories and Nvidia readies itself for more users. ®

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