May
06
2020
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Run:AI brings virtualization to GPUs running Kubernetes workloads

In the early 2000s, VMware introduced the world to virtual servers that allowed IT to make more efficient use of idle server capacity. Today, Run:AI is introducing that same concept to GPUs running containerized machine learning projects on Kubernetes.

This should enable data science teams to have access to more resources than they would normally get were they simply allocated a certain number of available GPUs. Company CEO and co-founder Omri Geller says his company believes that part of the issue in getting AI projects to market is due to static resource allocation holding back data science teams.

“There are many times when those important and expensive computer sources are sitting idle, while at the same time, other users that might need more compute power since they need to run more experiments and don’t have access to available resources because they are part of a static assignment,” Geller explained.

To solve that issue of static resource allocation, Run:AI came up with a solution to virtualize those GPU resources, whether on prem or in the cloud, and let IT define by policy how those resources should be divided.

“There is a need for a specific virtualization approaches for AI and actively managed orchestration and scheduling of those GPU resources, while providing the visibility and control over those compute resources to IT organizations and AI administrators,” he said.

Run:AI creates a resource pool, which allocates based on need. Image Credits Run:AI

Run:AI built a solution to bridge this gap between the resources IT is providing to data science teams and what they require to run a given job, while still giving IT some control over defining how that works.

“We really help companies get much more out of their infrastructure, and we do it by really abstracting the hardware from the data science, meaning you can simply run your experiment without thinking about the underlying hardware, and at any moment in time you can consume as much compute power as you need,” he said.

While the company is still in its early stages, and the current economic situation is hitting everyone hard, Geller sees a place for a solution like Run:AI because it gives customers the capacity to make the most out of existing resources, while making data science teams run more efficiently.

He also is taking a realistic long view when it comes to customer acquisition during this time. “These are challenging times for everyone,” he says. “We have plans for longer time partnerships with our customers that are not optimized for short term revenues.”

Run:AI was founded in 2018. It has raised $13 million, according to Geller. The company is based in Israel with offices in the United States. It currently has 25 employees and a few dozen customers.

Sep
30
2019
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Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop service is now generally available

Microsoft today announced that Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), its Azure-based system for virtualizing the Windows and Office user experience it announced last September, is now generally available. Using WVD, enterprises can give their employees access to virtualized applications and remote desktops, including the ability to provide multi-session Windows 10 experiences, something that sets Microsoft’s own apart from that of other vendors that offer virtualized Windows desktops and applications.

In addition to making the service generally available, Microsoft is also rolling it out globally, whereas the preview was U.S.-only and the original plan was to slowly roll it out globally. Scott Manchester, the principal engineering lead for WVD, also told me that more than 20,000 companies signed up for the preview. He also noted that Microsoft Teams is getting enhanced support in WVD with a significantly improved video conferencing experience.

Shortly after announcing the preview of WVD, Microsoft acquired a company called FSLogix, which specialized in provisioning the same kind of virtualized Windows environments that Microsoft offers through WVD. As Microsoft’s corporate VP for Microsoft 365 told me ahead of today’s announcement, the company took a lot of the know-how from FSLogix to ensure that the user experience on WVD is as smooth as possible.

Brad Anderson, CVP of Microsoft 365, noted that just as enterprises are getting more comfortable with moving some of their infrastructure to the cloud (and have others worry about managing it), there is now also growing demand from organizations that want this same experience for their desktop experiences. “They look at the cloud as a way of saying, ‘listen, let the experts manage the infrastructure. They can optimize it; they can fine-tune it; they can make sure that it’s all done right.’ And then I’ll just have a first-party service — in this case Microsoft — that I can leverage to simplify my life and enable me to spin up and down capacity on demand,” Anderson said. He also noted, though, that making sure that these services are always available is maybe even more critical than for other workloads that have moved to the cloud. If your desktop stops working, you can’t get much done, after all.

Anderson also stressed that if a customer wants a multi-session Windows 10 environment in the cloud, WVD is the only way to go because that is the only way to get a license to do so. “We’ve built the operating system, we built the public cloud, so that combination is going to be unique and this gives us the ability to make sure that that Windows 10 experience is the absolute best on top of that public cloud,” he noted.

He also stressed that the FSLogix acquisition enabled his team to work with the Office team to optimize the user experience there. Thanks to this, when you spin up a new virtualized version of Outlook, for example, it’ll just take a second or two to load instead of almost a minute.

A number of companies are also still looking to upgrade their old Windows 7 deployments. Microsoft will stop providing free security patches for them very soon, but on WVD, these users will still be able to get access to virtualized Windows 7 desktops with free extended security updates until January 2023. Anderson does not believe that this will be a major driver for WVD adoption, but he does see “pockets of customers who are working on their transition.”

Enterprises can access Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 7 Enterprise on WVD at no additional licensing cost (though, of course, the Azure resources they consume will cost them) if they have an eligible Windows 10 Enterprise or Microsoft 365 license.

 

Jun
07
2017
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Illumio, a specialist in segmented security, raises $125M at $1b+ valuation

 Another day, another major round of funding for a security startup, underscoring just how active the area of IT protection is right now — both in terms of business need and as an investment opportunity. Today, Illumio — a startup that provides data center and cloud security services, monitoring and protecting individual applications and processes within an enterprise network by… Read More

Aug
22
2016
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AppFormix now helps enterprises monitor and optimize their virtualized networks

cloud computing gears AppFormix helps enterprises, including the likes of Rackspace and its customers, monitor and optimize their OpenStack- and container-based clouds. The company today announced that it has also now added support for virtualized network functions (VNF) to its service. Traditionally, networking was the domain of highly specialized hardware, but increasingly, it’s commodity hardware and… Read More

Aug
05
2015
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Storage Vendor Tintri Lands $125M Round With Eye Toward IPO

Storage and servers in cloud. Tintri, a company that develops storage solutions for virtual applications, announced a $125 million round today.
The company also indicated the next logical step is probably going to be an IPO in the first half of 2016 if market conditions are right.
The round was led by Silver Lake Kraftwerk. Existing investors Insight Venture Partners, Lightspeed Ventures, Menlo Ventures and NEA also… Read More

Jan
12
2015
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Citrix Scoops Up Virtual Storage Vendor Sanbolic

Black and white photo of spinning hard drive. Citrix purchased Sanbolic today, a company that provides virtual storage optimization services, filling in a missing piece in its virtualization product portfolio with the acquisition. It’s worth noting that Sanbolic plays nicely with Citrix desktop virtualization technology and considered Citrix a strong partner before the agreement, so the deal makes sense in that context. The… Read More

Aug
11
2014
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VMware Vets Get $4.5M In Series A To Launch Private Cloud Management Platform

Data center view of tons of different colored wires connected to servers. Back in 2009 I saw a talk by then VMware CTO Steve Herrod, now a partner at General Catalyst Partners, who described a private Amazon Web Services-like environment where users could provision services with the same ease they do in the public cloud. It was the first time I heard the term “private cloud.” A group of ex-VMware veterans have gotten together to finally fulfill… Read More

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