Pure Storage’s AIRI reference architecture nabs Nvidia BasePOD certification

Pure Storage’s AIRI reference architecture nabs Nvidia BasePOD certification

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Pure Storage Inc. today announced that it has become the first data center storage supplier to receive Nvidia Corp.’s BasePOD technical certification.

The company nabbed the certification for its AIRI offering. It’s reference architecture, or a blueprint that combines several different technology products into a single system. AIRI integrates Pure Storage flash appliances, Nvidia chips and management software into a system that enterprises can use to run artificial intelligence models.

The certification that Pure Storage announced today demonstrates AIRI complies with Nvidia’s BasePOD technical specification. Introduced last year, the specification ensures the components of an AI system reference architecture work well with one another. Before certifying a system, Nvidia also validates that it delivers “expected performance” for common AI workloads.

Pure Storage’s newly BasePOD-certified AIRI system has two main hardware components. The first is a DGX appliance from Nvidia, while the other is Pure Storage’s own FlashBlade//S storage system.

Nvidia’s DXG appliance series is designed to reduce the amount of effort required to deploy its graphics cards in customer data centers. Each machine combines multiple graphics cards with central processing units, networking gear and other supporting hardware. The fact that these components arrive in a single, preintegrated chassis removes the need for customers to manually assemble them, which speeds up deployment.

The second key component of AIRI is Pure Storage’s Flash//S storage system. It provides up to 1,920 terabytes of flash capacity that companies can use to store their AI models’ data. In practice, the system’s capacity can be expanded well beyond 1,920 terabytes using the built-in compression software, which shrinks datasets to reduce the amount of space they require. 

The Flash//S is based on so-called QLC, or quadruple-level cell, flash. QLC provides higher capacity than other types of flash, but it’s also slower and less durable. To address those limitations, Pure Storage ships the QLC memory that powers its systems in specialized packages designed to increase the hardware’s performance. 

AIRI and other reference architectures built to Nvidia’s BasePOD specification also ship with a range of preinstalled software tools. Many of those tools were developed by the chipmaker.

One Nvidia-provided application, Base Command, enables administrators to centrally manage the configuration settings of a BasePOD system’s compute and storage components. The software also eases other maintenance tasks such as patching. Likewise included in each BasePOD system is Nvidia NGC, a collection of pretrained neural networks and related components that the chipmaker has scanned for cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

“Enterprises everywhere are embracing AI to enrich customer experiences and significantly increase business efficiencies,” said Matthew Hull, Nvidia’s vice president of global AI solutions. “With a certified NVIDIA DGX BasePOD solution for AIRI, data architects, IT, and business leaders in every enterprise can now operationalize AI at scale.”

Pure Storage announced AIRI’s BasePOD certification today alongside new additions to its FlashStack series of reference architectures. Those reference architectures combine Pure Storage flash systems with servers and networking equipment from Cisco Systems. Like AIRI, the FlashStack series is optimized for AI workloads. 

Image: Pure Storage

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