Flexential becomes first data center to host ONTAP AI Test Drive

Flexential, a leading provider of data center colocation and hybrid IT solutions, announced it is the first data center globally to host ONTAP AI Test Drive, a fully optimized and tested infrastructure solution for AI workloads.

The platform, available today in one of Flexential’s Portland, Ore., (Hillsboro) data centers, will be offered in more of the 21 markets served by Flexential in the future. For a limited time, providers are offering a test drive to allow select customers to try ONTAP AI before making an investment.

“Artificial intelligence and machine learning will soon be used in almost every industry, meaning that now is the time for businesses to plan how they will manage, support and optimize the technology to run these mission-critical applications,” said Jason Carolan, chief innovation officer, Flexential. “Our data centers are ready to provide the power, cooling, resiliency, security, and connectivity to support these high-density AI workloads. Plus, through our professional services practice, we are able to help customers seamlessly migrate data, integrate to hyper-scale or private cloud, and provide services to secure their platforms.”

In January, Flexential first announced its collaboration with NVIDIA to bring DGX-Ready data center colocation services to customers. This capability ensures Flexential data centers can support the high-density power and cooling necessary for advanced AI workloads. ONTAP AI, available in the Flexential Portland data center, allows select customers to pilot their AI workloads starting today.

“AI places unique, unprecedented demands on data center resources, exceeding the capabilities of traditional IT infrastructure,” said Charlie Boyle, vice president, general manager, DGX systems, NVIDIA. “ONTAP AI colocated at Flexential gives users a simple, faster way to deploy fully-optimized AI infrastructure and reduce time to insight. The new ONTAP AI test drive allows users to eliminate risk by testing their own workloads on this world-class AI infrastructure solution before purchasing.”

This comprehensive “reference architecture” is powered by the revolutionary NVIDIA DGX-1 and DGX-2 AI systems paired with NetApp cloud-connected all flash storage.

“Businesses across nearly every industry are adopting AI to stay competitive, drive growth, and decrease expenses,” said Santosh Rao, head of AI and Data Engineering at NetApp. “NetApp ONTAP AI enables customers to quickly embark on their AI journey with reduced cost, complexity and risk – and with NetApp’s Data Fabric, creates an integrated data pipeline across edge, core and cloud, so that data can be ingested, collected, stored, and protected—no matter where that data resides. Our collaboration with NVIDIA and Flexential allows customers to optimally apply their data to train AI, drive machine learning and empower the deep learning algorithms necessary to bring AI to life.”

Also delivering key technology to the test drive program are NVIDIA and NetApp partner Trace3, providing hardware and system integration, along with Mellanox, which provides the high-performance network fabric. Flexential will be discussing the ONTAP AI solution at NetApp INSIGHTS in Las VegasOctober 28-30.

“The test drive program is the best way to get started with AI and machine learning today because it eliminates the typical infrastructure barriers to adopting new technologies,” said Amit Katz, vice president of ethernet switches at Mellanox Technologies. “Mellanox is proud to provide a high-performance network fabric that is optimized for machine learning and storage use cases.”

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