VMware, Nvidia partner to make AI chips easier for businesses to use

FILE PHOTO: The Nvidia booth is shown at the E3 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 13, 2017. REUTERS/ Mike Blake/File Photo

(Reuters) – VMware Inc and Nvidia Corp on Tuesday announced an effort to make VMware’s software for managing data centers work better with Nvidia’s artificial intelligence (AI) chips.

VMware makes software that helps businesses get more work out of data center servers by slicing physical machines into “virtual” ones so that more applications can be packed onto each physical machine. Its tools are commonly used by large businesses that operate their own data centers as well as businesses that use cloud computing data centers.

For many years, much of VMware’s work focused on making software work better with processors from Intel Corp, which had a dominant market share of data centers.

In recent years, as businesses have turned to AI for everything from speech recognition to recognizing patterns in financial data, Nvidia’s market share in data centers has been expanding because its chips are used to speed up such work.

VMware’s software tools will work smoothly with Nvidia’s chips to run AI applications without “any kind of specialized setup,” Krish Prasad, head of VMware’s cloud platform business unit, said during a press briefing.

Manuvir Das, head of enterprise computing at Nvidia, said: “There is some very important computer science that has been done between the VMware and Nvidia teams to enable this.”

“As much as people may think of Nvidia as a hardware company, we are more so a software company today.”

The companies said they would give some customers early access to the technology but did not say when it would go on sale.

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