Microsoft Azure ND-series offers more GPUs, power

There’s a new series of Microsoft Azure GPU-based offerings currently in the works, the company recently announced. The new offering is called the Microsoft Azure ND-series. And it offers some additional sizes and capabilities that should appeal to larger organizations looking for high-performance training and computing options.

New features of Microsoft Azure ND-series

The Microsoft Azure ND-series offers more GPUs, increased power, and additional intelligence offerings. This makes the new series perfect for training and inference. Powered by Nvidia Tesla P40 GPUs based on the new Pascal Architecture, the ND-series offers a memory size of 24GB, which is much larger than that of the previous NC-series and allows customers to fit much larger neural net models.

In addition, the ND-series will offer RDMA and InfiniBand connectivity so users can run large-scale training jobs even when those jobs span hundreds of GPUs.

New Microsoft Azure ND-series sizes

The new series also offers four new sizes. There’s the ND6s, ND12s, ND24s, and ND24rs. The CPUs, GPU, and memory vary among each of those sizes. And all but the ND24rs run on the Azure Network. But the ND24rs uses InfiniBand. Microsoft has a chart available that details the actual specifications of each size.

Microsoft Azure NCv2

In addition to the announcement about the Azure ND-series, Microsoft also announced updates to its previous NC-series. The NCv2, as Microsoft is calling it, is powered by Nvidia Tesla P100 GPUs. And it provides more than two-times the computational performance of the current NC-series. It will also offer InfiniBand networking for workloads that require fast interconnect.

Basically, all of these updates give enterprises the ability to access deep learning and high-performance computing through the Pascal architecture. The new NC-series and ND-series sizes should be available later this year, according to Microsoft.

Photo credit: Flickr / Rainer Stropek

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