Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Nvidia launches Spectrum-X Ethernet stack for AI workloads

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Nvidia is best known for its GPUs, but the company has also made network switches, with the Spectrum series first being known for accelerating big data workloads in data centers.

“Generative AI will undoubtedly drive innovation across multiple industries,” said Antonio Neri, president and CEO of HPE, in a press release. “These powerful new applications will require a fundamentally different architecture to support a variety of dynamic workloads.”

Spectrum-X is currently used in Nvidia’s Israel-1 supercomputer, built with Dell servers and Nvidia’s HGX 100 platform, featuring GPUs, BlueField-3 DPUs, SuperNICs, and Spectrum-4 switches. According to Nvidia, this model serves as a reference for firms building AI-driven high-performance computing clusters.

Broadcom says “not new”

Nvidia first announced Spectrum-X at the Computex trade show in Taipei, with CEO Jensen Huang saying on stage that it was “the world’s first high-performance ethernet for AI” and it doesn’t drop packets.

But at the time, Broadcom shot back, telling The Register that “there’s nothing unique about their device that we don’t already have.”

Ram Velaga, SVP of Broadcom’s core switching group, told The Register that Broadcom’s technology already effectively manages congestion in a more vendor-agnostic way, taking aim at Nvidia’s proprietary software layer.

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