New Cisco server is designed specifically for AI and ML

Cisco AL ML server
Image credit: Cisco

Cisco Systems has unveiled its first server built from the ground up for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) workloads.

AI and ML can open up new ways for enterprises to solve complex problems, but they will also have a profound effect on the underlying infrastructure and processes of IT. According to Gartner, “only 4% of CIOs worldwide report that they have AI projects in production.” That number will grow dramatically over the next few years. And when it does, IT will struggle to manage new workloads, new traffic patterns, and new relationships within their business.

The new Cisco UCS C480 ML server– which is designed to help enterprises address these emerging challenges – speeds up deep learning, a compute-intensive form of machine learning that uses neural networks and large data sets to train computers for complex tasks.

Packed with Nvidia Tesla V100 Tensor Core GPUs, it is designed to accelerate ML software stacks, enabling data scientists and developers to experiment with machine learning on a laptop.

However, deep learning at scale demands much more compute capability – it requires an IT architecture that is capable of taking in vast sets of data, and tools that can make sense of that data and use it to learn. To that end, Cisco is working with its technology partners to validate machine learning tools: to help simplify deployments and accelerate time to insight.

Roland Acra, SVP and GM for Cisco’s Data Center Business Group, said the UCS C480 ML server will power AI initiatives across a wide range of industries. “Our early-access customers in the financial sector are exploring ways to improve fraud detection and enhance algorithmic trading. Meanwhile in healthcare, they’re interested in better insights and diagnostics, improving medical image classification, and speeding drug discovery and research.”

The C480 ML builds on Cisco’s portfolio of UCS B-Series, C-Series, and HyperFlex systems. It will be available to buy from Cisco partners in Q4 2018, along with a range of AI and ML support capabilities from Cisco Services that span analytics, deep-learning and automation.

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