13 Jul 2021

DGX-Ready - But, what does that actually mean?

It’s been a busy few months for the team here at Kao Data. We’ve had several exciting announcements that not only showcase the best our data centre campus has to offer, but also the innovation and creativity that will provide a path forward for the research community here in the UK Innovation Corridor.

In May, Kao Data became NVIDIA DGX-Ready Data Center certified. This certification demonstrates our capabilities as a world-class data centre operator in our ability to support and host state-of-the-art NVIDIA GPU technology. Being DGX-Ready enables our customers to seamlessly deploy their own DGX kit within an AI-specialist data centre. Our expertise in delivering customised architectures for HPC, AI and supercomputing environments make us the ideal home for this type of advanced computing.

This was reinforced earlier this month when NVIDIA's Cambridge-1 supercomputer was officially launched from our campus in Harlow. The supercomputer is the United Kingdom’s most powerful and is the largest AI infrastructure research platform in the country. It will accelerate UK healthcare research into areas such as drug discovery and genome sequencing. Founding partners on the project - including AstraZeneca, GSK, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College London and Oxford Nanopore - are using the powerful combination of AI and simulation to accelerate the digital biology revolution and bolster the UK’s reputation as a world leader in life sciences.

NVIDIA Cambridge-1

We not only have the Cambridge-1 supercomputer doing great research from our data centre, but we're also building a DGX-powered ecosystem of services that will enable access to this AI technology for research organisations of any size. We recently helped Civo launch its cutting-edge, K3s Kubernetes, cloud platform in the UK. Civo has created a developer-first environment that allows users to create clusters quickly, with high levels of resilience along with the ability to use DGX A100 compute on-demand. Together, this can complement Cambridge-1 research workloads as and when necessary with an innovative Kuberentes enablement. However, with such a strong AI start-up culture in the UK Innovation Corridor, this is also welcome news for organisations that need flexible access to HPC as they push the envelope of science and innovation. The ability to pick and choose technology requirements means research organisations are better positioned to quickly react in an ever changing environment.

Another great example of how our customers are harnessing the power of NVIDIA DGX technology at Kao Data is InstaDeep. A global leader in AI powered decision-making solutions for enterprise, InstaDeep is expanding its research and development capabilities from our data centre. Its unique DeepChain™ technology is a cloud-native protein design platform which allows the discovery of new protein designs validated with molecular dynamics simulations without human interaction. These massive datasets require an industrial scale data centre with expertise in hosting HPC and NVIDIA GPUs, and our campus perfectly fits the bill.

One of the last, but certainly not least, pieces of the puzzle is connectivity. At Kao Data, we provide connectivity via direct dark fibre which allows the research community on our doorstep ultrafast access to their workloads in our data centre, almost as if it were on-premise on their own campus. We are also Megaport connected, delivering seamless accessibility and flexibility into public cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and many others. If you’re operating the industry’s fastest DGX architecture you need rapid connectivity to match, and Megaport helps us in our aim to provide the ultimate AI tech research hub for the UK Innovation Corridor. This hybrid approach provides the best of both worlds delivering flexibility with fully owned DGX systems complemented by cloud services.

While others may simply stick a DGX-Ready logo on their website and wait, Kao Data is taking a different, more proactive approach in what it means to be a certified DGX-Ready data centre. We are seeing first hand via our customers the tremendous potential of the NVIDIA DGX platform in how it can be deployed quickly and at scale. The traditional supercomputer is now accessible to all types of business, commerce and research, in a timely fashion. By building a community of AI enabled services, we are creating a home for innovative AI research tools on our campus. This is all part of our commitment to pioneering the application, usage and adoption of DGX hardware for our customers.

If there is one thing we’ve learned over the last 18 months, the ability to deploy at pace is critical when you are helping healthcare, life sciences and bioinformatics organisations quickly pivot to provide life-saving research needed all around the world. As a data centre, we pride ourselves on being lean, flexible and accessible for our customers. We are reminded now more than ever that the criticality of the work we do makes our customers’ research possible. As our society looks to build back better after the pandemic, it’s an incredible time to be doing the work we do.

Spencer Lamb

Spencer Lamb is Chief Commercial Officer at Kao Data and an experienced figure within the industry. He has a keen interest in HPC, AI and hyperscale computing.


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