Dell and NVIDIA Collaborate to Provide Cutting-Edge Generative AI Solutions

**Dell Technologies and NVIDIA Simplify Infrastructure for Generative AI**

**Building an IT Infrastructure for Generative AI: Overcoming Challenges**

Building an IT infrastructure for deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) presents unique challenges. The technologies and practices used in deploying AI workloads differ significantly from traditional enterprise IT applications. Consequently, IT practitioners often need to acquire new skills, introducing a degree of risk to IT projects.

Generative AI, in particular, is placing new demands on IT teams across various industries. The GPUs required for generative AI are expensive and power-hungry, often requiring multiple devices. In addition, aligning storage to meet the data needs of these GPUs necessitates adopting new technologies such as NVIDIA’s GPUDirect. Furthermore, the software stack for generative AI differs greatly from that used in enterprise IT applications. These challenges make it imperative to find ways to simplify the process of building and deploying infrastructure for generative AI.

**Introducing Dell Technologies and NVIDIA’s Project Helix**

Dell Technologies and NVIDIA have taken steps to reduce the complexity of building and deploying infrastructure for Generative AI. The two companies unveiled Project Helix earlier this year at Dell Technologies World. Dell describes Project Helix as providing full-stack solutions that leverage Dell and NVIDIA infrastructure and software, accompanied by technical expertise and pre-built tools.

**Concrete Outcomes from Project Helix**

As a result of Project Helix, Dell and NVIDIA have announced the following elements:

**Generative AI Validated Designs**

Dell now offers validated designs for generative AI inference systems, allowing IT organizations to adopt a recipe-driven approach to building infrastructure. These designs are based on Dell PowerEdge servers combined with NVIDIA accelerators. Dell’s Validated Design for Generative AI with NVIDIA is available globally through traditional channels and also through its APEX as-a-service offering.

**Servers & Storage**

The Dell Validated Design for Generative AI provides a choice of servers, including Dell PowerEdge XE8640, PowerEdge XE9680, and PowerEdge R760xa. These servers are equipped with the latest generation Intel Xeon processors. However, it should be noted that there is no AMD option available, despite the success of AMD in this space. The validated designs support between four and eight NVIDIA Hopper H100 GPUs connected through NVIDIA’s NVLink technology.

When it comes to storage options, Dell supports its PowerScale filter and ECS object storage systems. Both systems are compatible with NVIDIA’s GPUDirect, which enhances performance and reduces latency while serving data to the GPUs within the cluster.

**Software Stack Based on NVIDIA’s Enterprise AI Software Stack**

The software stack plays a crucial role in generative AI deployments. Each Dell validated design for generative AI relies heavily on NVIDIA’s enterprise AI stack, which includes the following software elements:

– NVIDIA AI Enterprise: An end-to-end, cloud-native suite of AI and data analytics software.
– Triton Inference Server: Accelerates and standardizes AI model deployment and execution in production environments.
– Triton Model Analyzer: Analyzes AI models to identify potential deployment issues and hardware adequacy.
– Faster Transformer technology for optimized language processing.
– NVIDIA NeMo Framework: Enables building, customizing, and deploying generative AI models with billions of parameters.
– Cluster Manager: Manages the provisioning and operation of AI nodes within an AI cluster.

**Dell Precision AI Workstation**

Dell has introduced new Dell Precision AI Workstations, specifically designed for data scientists and AI researchers. These workstations feature a range of models based on AMD Threadripper and Intel Xeon processors and are equipped with up to four NVIDIA RTX 6000 GPUs. The new workstation models will be available through Dell’s usual sales channels starting in August.

**Professional Services for AI**

Dell has expanded its professional services to include generative AI. The professional services team works closely with customers throughout the entire lifecycle of an AI implementation. This includes collaborative efforts to create a generative AI strategy, identify high-value use cases, and provide full-stack implementation services. Dell’s professional services can also ensure operational efficiency, offer managed services, and provide staff training even after deployment.

**Analyst’s Take**

Generative AI is a disruptive technology that has the potential to transform business processes and reshape how enterprises approach digital transformation. As AI continues to evolve, IT practitioners face the challenge of navigating the cost and complexity of infrastructure solutions. Dell’s validated designs and the collaboration with NVIDIA help mitigate these challenges by providing blueprints for building and deploying infrastructure for generative AI.

The availability of professional services from Dell further reduces the risk associated with generative AI projects, offering close to a guarantee of success. Simplifying the life of IT practitioners is essential, and Dell’s new offerings address this need effectively.

It is important to note that the technology landscape surrounding AI is constantly evolving, and best practices are still being developed. Nonetheless, Dell Technologies and NVIDIA’s collaboration presents a significant step forward in streamlining the process of building infrastructure for generative AI.

*Disclosure: Steve McDowell is an industry analyst at NAND Research, which engages in research, analysis, and advisory services with various technology companies. Mr. McDowell does not hold any equity positions in the companies mentioned in this article.*

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