Sponsored By: NetApp
NetApp’s been working in the AI DL (deep learning) space for a long time now and announced their partnership with NVIDIA DGX systems, back in August of 2018. At NetApp Insight, this week they were showing off their new NVIDIA DGX systems reference architectures. These architectures use NetApp AFF A800 storage (for more info on AI DL, checkout Ray’s Learning Machine (deep) Learning posts – part 1, – part 2 and – part3).
Besides the ONTAP AI systems, NetApp also offers
- FlexPod AI solution based on their partnership with Cisco using UCS C480 ML M5 rack servers which include 8 NVIDA Tesla V100 GPUs and also features NetApp AFF A800 storage for use in core AI DL.
- NetApp HCI has two configurations with 2- or 3-NVIDIA GPUs that come in 1U or 2U rack servers and run VMware vSphere or RedHad OpenStack/OpenShift software hypervisors suitable for edge or core AI DL.
- E-series reference architecture that uses the BeeGFS parallel file system and offers InfiniBAND data access for HPC or core AI DL.
On the conference floor, NetApp showed AI DL demos for automotive, financial services, Public Sector and healthcare verticals. They also had a facial recognition application running that could estimate your age and emotional state (I didn’t try it, but Mike said they were hedging the model so it predicted a lower age).
Mike said one healthcare solution was focused on radiological image scans, to identify pathologies from x-Ray, MRI, or CAT scan images. Mike mentioned there was a lot of radiological technologists burn-out due to the volume of work caused by the medical imaging explosion over the last decade or so. Mike said image analysis is something that h AI DL can perform very effectively and doing so would improve the accuracy and reduce the volume of work being done by technologists.
He also mentioned another healthcare application that uses an AI DL app to count TB cells in blood samples and estimate the extent of TB infections. Historically, this has been time consuming, error prone and hard to do in the field. The app uses a microscope with a smart phone and can be deployed and run anywhere in the world.
Mike mentioned a genomics AI DL application that examined DNA sequences and tried to determine its functionality. He also mentioned a retail AI DL facial recognition application that would help women “see” what they would look like with different makeup on.
There was a lot of discussion on NetApp Cloud services at the show, such as Cloud Volume Services and Azure NetApp File (ANF). Both of these could easily be used to implement an AI DL application or be part of an edge to core to cloud data flow for an AI DL application deployment using NetApp Data Fabric.
NetApp also announced a new, all flash StorageGRID appliance that was targeted at heavy IO intensive uses of object store like AI DL model training and data analytics.
Finally, Mike mentioned NetApp’s ecosystem of partners working in the AI space to help customers deploy AI DL algorithms in their industries. Some of these include:
- Flexential, Try and Buy AI so that customers could bring them in to supply AI DL expertise to generate an AI DL application using customer data and deploy it on customer cloud or on prem infrastructure .
- Core Scientific, AI-as-a-Service, so that customers could purchase a service to implement an AI DL application using customer data and running on Core Scientific infrastructure..
- Scale Matrix, Mobile data center AI, so that customers could create an AI DL application and run it on Scale Matrix infrastructure that was transported to wherever the customer wanted it to be run.
We recorded the podcast on the show floor, in a glass booth, so there’s some background noise (sorry about that, but can’t be helped). The podcast is ~27 minutes. Mike is a long time friend and NetApp product expert, recently working in AI DL solutions at NetApp. When I saw Mike at Insight, I just had to ask him about what NetApp’s been doing in the AI DL space. Listen to the podcast to learn more.
Mike McNamara, Senior Manager AI Solution Marketing, NetApp
With over 25 years of data management product and solution marketing experience, Mike’s background includes roles of increasing responsibility at NetApp (10+ years), Adaptec, EMC and Digital Equipment Corporation.
In addition to his past role as marketing chairperson for the Fibre Channel Industry Association, he was a member of the Ethernet Technology Summit Conference Advisory Board, a member of the Ethernet Alliance, and a regular contributor to industry journals, and a frequent speaker at events.