Microsoft unveils an AI virtual machine powered by Azure and NVIDIA

A man standing in front of a rack of servers inside a data center
(Image credit: / Gorodenkoff)

Microsoft has announced details of its latest VM destined for artificial intelligence workloads as the company continues to develop and release AI products following a substantial investment in OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT.

In a blog post, the company stressed the important role its GPU-accelerated VMs play in providing the foundation for many generative AI advancements, both in-house and from other companies, including its own Azure OpenAI Service which puts AI writers like GPT-3.5, Codex, and DALL-E 2 into the hands of its customers.

With its new ND H100 v5 virtual machine, Microsoft promises “significantly faster performance” compared with the previous-generation ND A100 v4 virtual machines.

Microsoft Azure VM for AI

The updated VM makes use of eight NVIDIA H100 Tensor Core GPUs with the option to scale this up to a figure in the thousands. It’s also home to 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors and 16 channels of 4800 MHz DDR5 DIMMs.

With this move, Microsoft aims to deliver some of the latest, highest-performance technology at a more affordable rate to startups working in the AI field, many of which will be comparing their own stories to OpenAI’s recent success. That company’s co-founder, Greg Brockman, said:

“Co-designing supercomputers with Azure has been crucial for scaling our demanding AI training needs, making our research and alignment work on systems like ChatGPT possible.”

Moving forward, the ND H100 v5 VMs will need to be able to handle large amounts of training for significant periods of time as the world seeks to make artificial intelligence as reliable and accurate as possible.

The new H100-powered VMs are now available for preview as the tech giant looks to make them part of its standard offering in the Azure portfolio.

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!