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Cloud Native/NFV

Nvidia's diversification trail reaches Cumulus

Nvidia, which made its name supplying high-end graphics processing units to the video industry, has announced plans to acquire Cumulus Networks, a data center networking specialist.

The transaction, said Nvidia in a blog, will bolster its networking software capabilities. More grandly, the blog added that the "combination enables the new era of the accelerated, software-defined data center."

Nvidia first signaled serious intent to extend and adapt its chipset know-how into the data center through its $6.9 billion purchase of Mellanox, an Israeli chip designer.

Mellanox – which happens to be a Cumulus partner – has a strong play in data center interconnect tech and high-speed Ethernet adapters.

By taking the product portfolios of Mellanox and Cumulus under its wing, Nvidia should be better placed to capitalize on growing demand for high-performance computing (HPC) to handle AI, machine learning and data analytics. Giving Intel a better run for its money is another possibility.

"To build modern data centers, HPC and networking hardware and software must go hand in hand," Nvidia said in its blog.

The company added that Cumulus already supports 100 hardware platforms with Cumulus Linux, its operating system for network switches. "Our ultrafast NVIDIA Mellanox Spectrum switches already ship with Cumulus Linux and SONiC, the open source offering forged in Microsoft's Azure cloud and managed by the Open Compute Project."

Nvidia didn't provide financial details of the planned Cumulus acquisition but is reportedly looking to get the transaction wrapped up before June 30.

— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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