Cloud giants betting big on AI innovation

Tier 1 cloud service providers are boosting enterprise AI innovation thanks to increased investment in enabling technology.

 

This is one of the findings of new research from leading independent analyst firm Dell’Oro Group. Baron Fung, Research Director with Dell’Oro, said there is clear evidence that cloud providers are upping their spend on new infrastructure tailored for AI workloads. He projects that the spend on accelerated compute servers in particular will reach double-digit growth over the next five years, outpacing other data center infrastructure.

 

“An accelerated compute server, equipped with accelerators such as a GPU, FPGA or custom ASIC, can generally handle AI workloads with much greater efficiency than general purpose servers,” commented Fung. “Numerically speaking, deployment of these servers still represents only a fraction of cloud service providers’ overall server footprint. Yet, at ten or more times the cost of a general-purpose server, accelerated compute servers are becoming a substantial portion of the data center capex.”

 

Fung singled out Facebook which has announced plans to increase capex by more than 50% in 2022: “Investments will be driven by AI and machine learning to improve ranking and recommendations across Facebook’s platform,” he explained. “In the longer term, as the company shifts its business model to the metaverse, capex investments will be driven by video and compute-intensive applications such as AR and VR. At the same time, Tier 1 Cloud service providers, such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, also aim to increase spending on AI-focused infrastructure to enable their enterprise customers to deploy applications with enhanced intelligence and automation.”

 

In the year since Fung last reported on AI data center infrastructure, he said new architectures and solutions have emerged that could pave the way for the further proliferation of AI in the data center.

 

This event will be useful for any AI stakeholder.

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Book of the Month*

The Serendipity Mindset: The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck

By Dr Christian Busch
Serendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. To other people it looks like “good luck”, but it is more the ability to recognise and seize an opportunity, rather than have good fortune thrust upon one. Finding a wallet stuffed with money on the conference room floor is good luck, whereas holding it up and asking if anyone has lost their wallet might be the beginning of a valuable friendship – that would be serendipity.

Chance encounters, or strokes of fortune, feature in countless stories of business success. This book looks beneath the surface, reveals and teaches the mindset that can transform pure chance into opportunity. The author is director of the Global Economy Program at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs, and a lecturer at the London School of Economics.

Serendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. To other people it looks like “good luck”, but it is more the ability to recognise and seize an opportunity, rather than have good fortune thrust upon one. Finding a wallet stuffed with money on the conference room floor is good luck, whereas holding it up and asking if anyone has lost their wallet might be the beginning of a valuable friendship – that would be serendipity.

The author says “This is a book about the interactions of coincidence, human ambition and imagination”. In the above example: finding the wallet is the coincidence; ambition is the desire to make something of the discovery; add imagination and you open up a whole menu of possibilities: from spending spree to earning a reputation for honesty – or even making a wealthy friend.

Business is typically forged on human ambition and imagination, but early success often feeds an appetite for control – and “control freaks” can be blind to the opportunities thrown up by the unexpected. They only see chance events as distractions. If plans go awry, they may blame the failure on “bad luck” rather than admit their own inflexible attitude.

The author himself admits to being “a German who is used to planning” and prone to feel anxious when something unexpected happens. That makes him an ideal teacher, because he has worked hard to discover and analyse the mindset that enables one to “connect the dots” and cultivate serendipity. He presents a goldmine of examples from science, business and life where an apparent mishap or failure lead to a breakthrough.

Indeed, studies suggest that around 50% of major scientific breakthroughs emerge as the result of accidents or coincidences. A well-known example is Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin, launching the whole field of antibiotics. Other examples include X-rays, nylon, microwave ovens, rubber, Velcro, Viagra and Post-it Notes – where would we be without these!

The book goes beyond the ability to recognise and respond to opportunities in chaos, but the subtitle – The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck – is actually a bit misleading. True, he does show ways to develop better fortune, but it would be better to call it “inviting” or “encouraging” good luck. For example, he suggests better ways to start a conversation with a stranger – ways that will make it more likely to lead to chance connections or shared interests.

The publishers may have chosen the word “creating” to make the book appeal to the human desire to control – for control freaks are exactly the readership that would benefit the most from this book’s wisdom and practical advice.

For the rest of us, it offers a great way to rediscover the sense of play that is so important in life – and too often lost in business.

“Following the success of The Serendipity Mindset hardback, a paperback edition has also now been launched under the title “Connect the Dots”.

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