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Intel Buying AI Startup To Cut Cloud Costs, Boost CPU Compute Abilities

‘Granulate’s cutting-edge autonomous optimization software can be applied to production workloads without requiring the customer to make changes to its code, driving optimized hardware and software value for every cloud and data center customer,’ Intel’s Sandra Rivera says.

After more than a week of rumors, Intel has now confirmed it will be acquiring startup Granulate Cloud Solutions, an artificial intelligence (AI) software optimization startup, for a reported $650 million.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip giant said it will leverage Granulate’s technology to help its customers maximize compute workloads performance and reduce cloud and infrastructure costs. Intel plans to “rapidly scale” Granulate’s optimization software, including across its data center portfolio.

Sandra Rivera, executive vice president and general manager of Intel’s Datacenter and AI Group, said cloud and data center customers are demanding scalable, high-performance software to make the most of their hardware deployments.

[Related: Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger Earned $179 Million In 2021]

“Granulate’s cutting-edge autonomous optimization software can be applied to production workloads without requiring the customer to make changes to its code, driving optimized hardware and software value for every cloud and data center customer,” said Rivera in a statement.

The microprocessor superstar is currently building out its software optimization toolset in a move to offer better scalability and flexibility to its massive customer base. Granulate’s approach to real-time optimization software complements Intel’s existing capabilities by helping customers realize performance gains, cloud cost reductions and continual workload learning, Intel said.

Although financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, reports indicate Intel is paying $650 million for the startup. Intel employs 14,000 people in Israel at R&D centers and its Mobileye business – which Intel purchased for $15.3 billion in 2017.

Mobileye is already using Granulate’s Intel Workload Optimizer to make its cloud-dependent autonomous driving technology more efficient.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022. All of Granulate’s 120 employees are expected to join Intel.

What Granulate Cloud Solutions Brings To The Table

Granulate applies artificial intelligence to high-priority computing workloads to optimize how they travel across a customer’s both cloud and on-premises network.

Granulate’s autonomous optimization service reduces CPU utilization and application latencies by learning the customer’s application and deploying a customized set of continuous optimizations at runtime.

The technology enables deployment on smaller compute clusters and instance types to improve application performance and drive down cloud and data center costs. Granulate’s service does not require developer intervention and doesn’t need the customer to make changes to its own code. Optimizations for the latest CPUs can be applied even on legacy Linux distributions and runtimes, Intel said.

Asaf Ezra, co-founder and CEO of Granulate, said the combination of the two companies will help customers achieve meaningful cost reductions and “five times” the throughput across workloads.

“As a part of Intel, Granulate will be able to deliver autonomous optimization capabilities to even more customers globally and rapidly expand its offering with the help of Intel’s 19,000 software engineers,” Ezra said in a statement.

Intel and Granulate first formed a partnership in 2019, when Granulate was part of the first graduating class of Intel Ignite—the startup accelerator program that taps into Intel’s resources to help early-stage companies succeed.

Over the past year, Intel and Granulate have worked together under a commercial agreement to collaborate on workload optimization on Xeon deployments. Intel said the collaboration resulted in gains in performance and decreases in costs for customers running on Intel processors.

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