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AMD-Pensando Buy: From AWS Rivalry To Cisco, HPE Links—5 Things To Know

From Pensando’s Cisco heritage and HPE partnership, to why AMD is buying the edge computing startup, CRN breaks down five major things to know about AMD’s acquisition of Pensando that was unveiled today.

AMD’s Acquisition Of Pensando: What Partners, Investors And Customers Need To Know

The goal of AMD’s blockbuster acquisition of Pensando is to deliver the “future of computing” by combining Pensando’s programmable processor and software stack with AMD’s chips and data center technology.

Pensando made waves in the IT world in 2019 when the edge computing startup launched out of stealth looking to take on the likes of Amazon Web Services, claiming to outperform the public cloud market leader, while also forming a huge strategic partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).

The San Jose, Calif.-based startup had immediate major backing, including investments from HPE and Goldman Sachs, while raising a total more than $300 million in venture funding over the past several years. Pensando quickly inked contracts with AWS competitors like Oracle as well as the world’s largest data center operator Equinix.

AMD is seeking to leverage Pensando’s top-notch leadership team, more than 250 employees and innovative technology portfolio to take its data center business to the next level.

“To build a leading-edge data center with the best performance, security, flexibility and lowest total cost of ownership requires a wide range of compute engines,” said Lisa Su, AMD chairman and CEO, in a statement. “All major cloud and OEM customers have adopted EPYC processors to power their data center offerings. Today, with our acquisition of Pensando, we add a leading distributed services platform to our high-performance CPU, GPU, FPGA and adaptive SoC portfolio.”

AMD’s CEO said Pensando’s team will bring world-class expertise and a proven track record of innovation at the chip, software and platform level which will expand AMD’s capabilities for cloud, enterprise and edge customers.

AMD will pay $1.9 billion to acquire Pensando. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2022.

CRN breaks down the five biggest things channel partners, investors and customers need to know about AMD’s blockbuster acquisition of Pensando.


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Pensando Looks To Best AWS Nitro

When Pensando launched out of stealth mode in 2019, the company let the public know that it was looking to challenge Amazon’s cloud unit.

Pensando claimed, at the time, to outperform Amazon’s technology by five to nine times. Chairman and co-founder of Pensando, John Chambers (pictured), said at the time that the “very well-run and extremely dominant company in Amazon that we’re kind of challenging a little bit to give everyone choice and selection in where they go.”

Pensando’s edge technology competes with AWS’ Nitro, which provisions storage and provides both physical and virtual machines with network connectivity.

In an AMD release today, Pensando’s Chambers took a shot at AWS, the largest cloud provider in the world.

“Pensando is built upon strong customer relationships and a solution that is at least two years ahead in cloud, edge and enterprise. For example, the performance and scale of Pensando’s distributed services platform is 8x-13x of the largest cloud provider and uses less power,” said Chambers. “Pensando’s smart switching architecture has 100x the scale, 10x the performance at one-third the cost of ownership of any comparable products in the enterprise market.


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Pensando’s Huge HPE Partnership; CEO Neri Weighs-In On AMD

One of Pensando’s biggest partners and investors is data center infrastructure gisnt Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

In 2019, HPE led a $145 million investment funding round for Pensando to help drive edge computing innovation. At the time, HPE’s CTO and Director HPE Labs Mark Potter joined the Pensando board. “Our involvement goes well beyond financial; we are also aggressively integrating their technology into HPE solutions,” Potter said at the time.

In 2020, HPE teams with the startup to deliver breakthrough edge security capabilities with the Pensando Distributed Services Platform (DSP) as an option on the most popular HPE servers and the HPE GreenLake pay-per-use platform.

In 2021, HPE-owned Aruba Networks worked with Pensando on a first of its kind switch series that addresses distributed services. The Aruba CX 1000 distributed services switches combine Aruba‘s data center switching expertise with Pensando’s programmable data processing unit (DPU), known as Pensando Elba, to bring zero-trust security to the network-server edge, closer to users and applications.

Today, HPE’s President and CEO Antonio Neri (pictured) said the combination of Pensando and AMD will accelerate innovation at HPE.

“[With Pensando], we brought the cloud experience to the edge with the industry’s first distributed services switch, and we drove innovation across the data center by integrating future-proof Pensando distributed network and security services into our server portfolio and HPE GreenLake cloud services offering,” Neri said in a statement today. “We look forward to accelerating the development of these technologies with our long-standing partner AMD, whom we congratulate on this strategic acquisition.”


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AMD’s Plan For Pensando: Enable ‘Next Generation’ Of Data Centers

Pensando’s CEO Jain and the rest of the Pensando team will join AMD as part of its Data Center Solutions Group.

With the addition of Pensando, AMD will have the capability to innovate at the chip, software and platform level and deliver optimized solutions with unmatched performance and value for our cloud and enterprise customers.

The Pensando Distributed Services Platform aims to transform current enterprise infrastructures into cloud-like environments that seamlessly and securely extend to the public cloud.

The combination of AMD’s portfolio of CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, and adaptive computing engines with Pensando’s packet processor and software technologies will enable AMD to offer a broader portfolio of compute engines that have been optimized for different workloads. This is a one of AMD’s largest initiatives as the chipmaker believes this will be a critical requirement to deliver the performance, power efficiency and capabilities required to power the next generation of data centers at scale.

Pensando brings AMD a significant amount of hardware and software capabilities, including a distributed solutions platform featuring a programmable packet engine and complete software stack that accelerates networking, security, storage and other services for cloud, enterprise and edge applications.


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Pensando Founded By IT Legend John Chambers With Cisco Heritage

John Chambers is an IT legend who led Cisco Systems to become the worldwide dominant market share leader in networking.

As Cisco’s CEO from 1995 to 2015, Chambers elevated Cisco into becoming one of the biggest and most influential technology companies in the globe. He grew the networking superstar from $1.2 billion in 1995 to an astounding $47 billion when he stepped down as CEO in 2015.

A few years after leaving Cisco, Chambers co-founded Pensando and became chairman of the board. Pensando entered the market with its system based on a custom programmable processor optimized for edge computing. The solution is powering software-defined cloud, compute, networking, storage and security services to transform existing architectures into secure and fast environments that are being required by next-generation applications.

Chambers isn’t the only Cisco executive to lead Pensando.

Pensando CEO and co-founder Prem Jain spent more than 20 years at Cisco developing key innovations that helped the company evolve, including routing and switching capabilities and software-defined networks.

Pensando was also co-founded by former Cisco executives including Mario Mazzola, Luca Cafiero and Soni Jiandani.


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Pensando Counts Dell, VMware, ServiceNow As Partners; Over 100,000 Platforms In Production

Pensando has a long list of partners who are industry leaders and technology market share leaders.

A big part of the startup’s strategy is partnership. It is supported by partnerships with HPE, NetApp, VMware, Equinix, Qualcomm, Ericsson and more.

Pensando counts HPE, Dell, and VMware as its systems partners. Some of the startup’s integration providers include Elastic, Guardicore, ServiceNow and Splunk, to name a few.

In terms of customers and deployments, Pensando currently has deployed over 100,000 platforms into productions. The startup has many Fortune 500 customers in production.

Pensando’s products are already deployed at scale across cloud and enterprise customers, including Goldman Sachs, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud.

“Joining together with AMD will help accelerate growth in our core business and enable us to pursue a much larger customer base across more markets,” said Pensando CEO Prem Jain in a statement today.

 

 

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