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Excelero 2021 Predictions: AI Will Accelerate Its Move to the Cloud

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual series exclusive.

AI Will Accelerate Its Move to the Cloud

By Yaniv Romem, CEO, Excelero

In this year like no other, the more things change - the more they stay the same. In enterprise IT, the bar keeps moving ever higher - and despite an incredible amount of innovation, organizations still need greater performance, efficiency and ROI. Here are our thoughts on the industry's directions.

1.      AI, ML and DL will continue to transform the way data centers are architected. The fast-growing use of GPU's, and with that the move to high-performance networking, is a given. AI, ML and DL workloads  also have  raised the bar significantly for all aspects of storage performance. The market will continue to address often unmet demands for IOPs, bandwidth and latency in 2021.

2.      Deep learning, as distinct from AI, will continue to command innovation. Deep learning requires processing of very large amounts of annotated data to get to useful accuracy close to 100% - since your Alexa smart assistant is not very useful if it only recognizes 8 out of 10 words (80% accuracy) and your self-driving car is not very useful if it recognizes only 8 out of 10 speed limit signs. The problem often is the inability to load this data from the storage system into the GPUs at reasonable speed, and for DL, the definition of reasonable speed is significantly faster than traditional storage systems.  Expect to see continued innovation in this space.

3.      AI / HPC, data analytics and database workloads will continue to move to the cloud at an accelerated pace. The super-efficient, low latency, high IOPs, high performance storage required by AI, ML and DL are difficult to achieve with present cloud technology. Without them, applications perform less than acceptably, or costly GPUs are underutilized and thus infrastructure efficiency lags - just as is the case with on premise infrastructure.

Enterprises moving such workloads to the cloud will continue to drive new hardware and service offerings. Some will move to cloud-specific offerings, but many will build best of breed solutions by combining readily available services, such as elastic storage solutions that are cloud-oriented in nature, easy to consume with consistent price/performance benefits and give them flexibility of choice and avoid constraining them to a single cloud service provider.

4.      Chip innovations that propel price/performance will make NVMe an option for more applications. Intel's recent is debut of 2nd generation Optane is just one example.

5.      The price/performance ratio of storage systems will receive greater focus. While many storage solutions support performance scale-out, when deployed to achieve an AI/ML/DL-compatible level of IOPs, the cost of the storage often exceeds that of the GPU servers. From the customer's perspective, the major part of the available budget should of course be spent on the compute power, i.e. the GPU servers, and the storage system should consume only a fraction of the budget that gets spent on the GPU servers.  Watch this space in 2021.


About the Author

Yaniv Romem 

Yaniv Romem is CEO and co-founder of Excelero Storage, market leader in distributed block storage software whose Elastic NVMe software powers AI training and analytics workloads at any size and performance scale. Yaniv has been a technology evangelist at disruptive startups for the better part of 20 years, and a founder at several including Xeround and Picatel.  His passions are in the domains of high performance distributed computing, storage, databases and networking.

Published Wednesday, January 06, 2021 7:55 AM by David Marshall
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