VMware acquires ML acceleration start-up Bitfusion

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Today, VMware announced that it has acquired Bitfusion which is a former participant in the Start-up Battlefield Competition. Bitfusion was one of the very first companies to help businesses increase their complex computing workloads on GPUs, FGPAs, and ASICs. Four years earlier, in its iteration, the company was focused on AI and machine learning. It also focused more on other areas of high-performance computing. But surprisingly that shifted as the interest in AI and machine learning in recent have increased.

VMware is going to use Bitfusion’s technology, which is vendor and hardware agnostic, to bring similar capabilities to its customers. They are particular planning to integrate Bitfusion into the vSphere platform.

Krish Prasad, senior vice president, and general manager of VMware’s cloud platform business unit writes:

 “Once closed, the acquisition of Bitfusion will bolster VMware’s strategy of supporting AI and machine learning workloads by virtualizing hardware accelerators.”

He also added:

 “multi-vendor hardware accelerators and the ecosystem around them are key components for delivering modern applications. These accelerators can be used regardless of location in the environment, on-premises and in the cloud.”

Prasad also said that in order to get the most out of hardware accelerators like GPUs, many of the enterprises deploy them on bare metal. VMware, however, doesn’t agree that this leads to poor utilization and poor efficiencies. Prasad also writes:

 “This provides a perfect opportunity to virtualize them, providing increased sharing of resources and lowering costs.”

Bitfusion’s software platform decouples specific physical resources from the servers they are linked to in the environment. There are focusing on GPUs. However, the platform can be extended to support other accelerators like ASICs and FGPAs. It is also known to work across AI frameworks, clouds, networks and formats such as containers and virtual machines.

According to a VMware blog:

 “In many ways, Bitfusion offers for hardware acceleration what VMware offered to the complete landscape several years ago.”

Both the companies have not disclosed the price of the acquisition, Bitfusion had raised $5 million in 2017 and a smaller, strategic investment from Samsung Ventures in 2018.

 

 

 

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