December 1, 2023

Throughout its Microsoft Ignite 2023 keynote handle this morning, Microsoft introduced Azure Maia and Azure Cobalt, its first two customized chipsets that may energy Azure’s AI infrastructure.

“On this new period of AI, we’re redefining cloud infrastructure, from silicon to methods, to organize for AI in each enterprise, in each app, for everybody,” Microsoft normal supervisor Omar Khan mentioned. “We’re introducing our first customized AI accelerator sequence, Azure Maia, designed to run cloud-based coaching and inferencing for AI workloads akin to OpenAI fashions, Bing, GitHub Copilot, and ChatGPT. And we’re introducing our first customized in-house CPU sequence, Azure Cobalt, constructed on Arm structure for optimum efficiency/watt effectivity, powering frequent cloud workloads for the Microsoft Cloud. From in-house silicon to methods, Microsoft now optimizes and innovates at each layer within the infrastructure stack.”

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The Azure Maia 100 is the primary era of Microsoft’s customized AI accelerator sequence, and with over 100 billion transistors, it’s one of many largest chipsets ever constructed on a 5-nm manufacturing course of. The specifics are obscure, however Microsoft says that Maia will present Azure’s AI infrastructure with “end-to-end methods optimization tailor-made to fulfill the wants of groundbreaking AI akin to GPT.”

The Azure Cobalt 100 is likewise the primary era of Microsoft’s customized in-house CPU sequence, and its Arm structure provides it a great degree of efficiency per watt effectivity. The chip is a 64-bit design with 128 cores that Microsoft says delivers a 40 p.c efficiency enchancment over the present generations of Azure Arm chipsets. It’s so good that it’s already powering Microsoft Groups, Azure SQL, and different Microsoft companies.

Associated to those chipsets, Microsoft additionally introduced that Azure Increase—its virtualization processes offloading service—is now usually accessible. It’s now attainable to attain a throughput of 12.5 GB/s and 650,000 enter/output operations per second (IOPS) in distant storage efficiency and 200 GB/s in networking bandwidth utilizing the service (up from 10 GB/s and 400,000 IOPS within the preview).