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Ignite 2023: Microsoft touts dedicated cloud infrastructure

by MSCN Reporter
Staff Writer,
November 15 2023
Microsoft's latest hardware research

A "cold plate" attached to the survace of a Maia 100 AI Accelerator. (Source: Microsoft)

View all of our Ignite 2023 coverage

Microsoft kicked off Ignite 2023 with more details on its efforts to support AI initiatives. The company announced major cloud infrastructure improvements such as Azure Maia, its first custom AI accelerator series, intended to run cloud-based training and inferencing for OpenAI models, GitHub Copilot, Bing, and ChatGPT.

Maia 100 is the first generation in the accelerator series, comprising 105 billion transistors along with extensive networking, cooling, and software capabilities. Azure Cobalt, a custom in-house CPU series, is a companion to Maia built on Arm architecture optimized for power efficiency, with a 64-bit 128 core chip first generation that claims 40 percent greater performance than existing generations of Arm chips.

As part of its infrastructure initiatives, Microsoft is implementing Hollow Core Fiber technology and introducing Azure Boost in general availability. AI projects will benefit from up to 12.5 GB/s throughput, 650K IOPS of remote storage performance, and 200 GB/s of network intensive bandwidth.

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