NVIDIA and VMware CEOs discuss a new era of enterprise computing

VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram on Tuesday announced the availability of the VMware vSphere 8 enterprise workload platform running on NVIDIA DPUs, or compute units, in an initiative formerly known as Project Monterey.

Raghuram and NVIDIA Founder and CEO Jensen Huang put the announcement into context and discussed how running VMware vSphere 8 for BlueField is a big moment for enterprise computing and how it is reinventing the data center overall.

“Today we have customers using NVIDIA AI in the enterprise and in the data center,” Raghuram said. “Together we are changing the world for enterprise computing.”

Both agreed that AI plays a central role for every business and discussed the growing importance of multi-tenant data centers, hybrid cloud development and accelerated infrastructure deployment in a 20-minute conversation at the VMware Explore 2022 conference.

To address this, the companies announced a partnership two years ago to deliver an end-to-end enterprise platform for AI and a new data center, cloud, and edge architecture that uses NVIDIA DPUs to support existing and next-gen applications .

The stakes for partners and customers are high: AI has become “mission-critical” for every company, Raghuram explained. But studies show that half of AI projects don’t make it to production, with infrastructure complexity being a major cause, he added.

For example, VMware and NVIDIA are working with healthcare providers to accelerate medical imaging using AI to provide better quality of service to their patients.

NVIDIA will partner with Carilion Clinic at VMware Explore to discuss how Virginia’s largest healthcare organization is future-proofing its hospitals.

AI for every company

New AI-enabled applications include recommender systems, speech and image analysis, and natural language processing.

This will run on the NVIDIA and VMware AI-Ready Enterprise platform, accelerated by NVIDIA GPUs and DPUs and optimized and deployed for the breadth of VMware products, Huang said.

Many industries are now using VMware and NVIDIA’s joint solutions, Huang said.

In telecommunications, for example, NTT Communications provides multi-tenant services based on the platform. (Check out the VMware Explore breakout session on NTTcom Enabling AI Applications for Enterprises in the Cloud.)

VMware vSphere 8 with NVIDIA DPUs

VMware vSphere 8 with NVIDIA DPUs will be critical to delivering enterprise cloud and multi-tenant cloud, hybrid cloud, and zero-trust security.

Modern organizations continue to generate and process large amounts of data, Raghuram said.

New waves of workloads are emerging that are highly distributed across the data center, edge and multi-cloud, he added

Raghuram said customers need better performance and security in this new era.

DPUs will play a crucial role in the new infrastructure architecture to accelerate performance, free up CPU cycles and provide better security.

“We redesigned vSphere to run on DPUs,” Raghuram said. This offloads software-defined infrastructure tasks like network and storage processing, he added.

“And now you get accelerated I/O and can offer developers agility because all storage and network processing is now done in the DPU,” he said.

NVIDIA BlueField DPUs

Huang explained that cloud computing and AI are driving a reinvention of data center architecture and that data centers are the new unit of computation.

The DPU is a new type of processor to reduce the processing load on CPUs and provide a zero-trust security model, Huang explained.​

The NVIDIA BlueField DPU, an accelerated computing platform, is designed for all enterprise workloads and optimized for NVIDIA AI, Huang explained. The BlueField DPU offloads, accelerates, and isolates the data center’s software-defined infrastructure—networking, security, storage, and virtualization.

“The return on investment – the benefits offered by DPU-enabled vSphere 8 with NVIDIA BlueField – will be so fast because it frees up so many resources for computing that the payback will be immediate,” Huang said. “It’s going to be a really fantastic return.”

safety isolation

This approach is ideal for today’s security challenges. The traditional approach, Raghuram explained, relies on firewalls that focus on the network perimeter.

With the vSphere platform, VMware NSX and advances in silicon, “we can now bring intrinsic security to life,” Raghuram said.

This new approach, with the NSX distributed firewall running on BlueField DPUs, allows each node to be more secure at virtually every touchpoint, Huang explained, and the Zero Trust security model is finally being realized.

“And here’s BlueField and vSphere 8, with NSX running on BlueField, is an incredible revolution,” said Huang. “We will essentially have a firewall in every single computer.”

vSphere on DPU

Businesses can get started now. Raghuram announced that the first release of vSphere on DPU is available with vSphere 8 release, with ESXi and NSX support on BlueField DPU.

It allows users to improve infrastructure performance by offloading and accelerating functions on the DPU, freeing up more hosting resources for business applications, Raghuram said.

Certain latency- and bandwidth-sensitive workloads that previously used “pass-thru” virtualization can now run fully virtualized with similar performance in this new architecture without losing key vSphere capabilities like vMotion and DRS, Raghuram said.

​Infrastructure administrators can rely on vSphere to also manage the DPU lifecycle, thereby reducing operational overhead,​ added Raghuram. And enterprises can increase infrastructure security by isolating infrastructure domains on a DPU.

“The beauty of what the vSphere engineers did is that they didn’t change the management model,” Raghuram said. “This allows it to fit seamlessly into today’s data center architecture while enabling the future.”

Dell and NVIDIA announce an enterprise AI platform powered by VMware with the presentation of vSphere on BlueField DPU solution. It includes AI acceleration powered by NVIDIA GPUs, infrastructure acceleration powered by BlueField DPUs, advanced AI frameworks powered by NVIDIA, and managed by vSphere.

All of this will soon be available on Dell servers and Dell VxRail hyper-converged infrastructure. Customers can use familiar VMware vSphere tools to deploy and manage AI infrastructure.

NVIDIA LaunchPad

VMware vSphere users can freely experience these workloads on NVIDIA LaunchPad today, Huang said, adding that “it’s available worldwide.”

With LaunchPad, a free program that gives users access to hands-on AI labs, there’s no need to acquire and build infrastructure to offload, accelerate, and isolate vSphere on a DPU before experiencing the lab, Huang explained .

“I can’t wait to try it myself,” Raghuram said, adding that “this is just the beginning.”

Sign up now to try the VMware vSphere platform running on NVIDIA BlueField DPUs.

Watch the fireside chat with NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang and VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram below.

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