Inspur Unveils Specialized AI Servers to Support Edge Computing in 5G Era


By AI Trends Staff

Inspur has announced a specialized AI server for edge computing applications. The new Inspur NE5250M5 includes two NVIDIA V100 Tensor Core GPUs or six NVIDIA T4 GPUs for compute-intensive AI applications, including autonomous vehicles, smart cities and smart homes. It also can enable 5G edge applications such as the Internet of Things, multi-access edge computing (MEC) and network function virtualization (NFV). It also supports optimization design for harsh deployment environments on the edge.

“A lot of people in the US probably don’t know anything about us,” Alan Chang senior director of the server product line for Inspur, told AI Trends. Yet IDC ranked the China-based server supplier as the number one AI server provider in its First Half 2018 China AI Infrastructure Market Survey report, with a 51% share. Worldwide in the x86 server market, IDC has ranged Inspur at No. 3.

Inspur also announced an AI server supporting eight NVIDIA V100 Tensor Core GPUs, with an ultra-high-bandwidth NVSwitch, for demanding AI and high-performance computing (HPS) applications.

The Inspur NF5488M5 is designed to facilitate a variety of deep-learning and high-performance computing applications, including voice recognition, video analysis and intelligent customer service.

The announcements were made at NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference held in March in San Jose.

Looking For A Niche

Some 85% of the company’s servers so far have been sold in China and 15% into Europe and the US, Chang told AI Trends. “We are really focused on cloud server providers,” he said. Inspur is interested in further penetrating western markets. “We need a niche,” Chang said.

The niche is high-performance AI servers that work in conjunction with NVIDIA GPUs and other chips.

Inspur is a member of the Open Compute Project in China that includes Alibaba and Tencent, which has helped the company to differentiate on software.

“Our value proposition is to bring a mature, high-value motherboard. We can create a reliable, high-performance system that other companies cannot produce,” Chang said.

Inspur positions to complement and not compete with NVIDIA, but rather with server shipment leaders Dell and HP in the US.

The innovations in switch design is leading to performance increases that can range from 20% to 60% in early experience, Chang said.

Another differentiation for Inspur is lower power requirements. Markets in China, Japan, India, Taiwan and much of Europe average 8kw per server rack. The US averages 20kw to 30 kw.

The new product supporting edge computing is well-timed. “5G is exploding,” Chang said, with drivers coming from AI in autonomous driving, retail, manufacturing and the IoT (Internet of Things). “The AI inferencing will be happening at the edge,” Chang said. “That’s why we designed this new box.”