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Microsoft Bolsters Datacenter Offering with Fungible Acquisition

Microsoft said on Monday that it will be buying datacenter infrastructure solutions company Fungible Inc.   

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Fungible's solutions are based on its Data Processing Units (DPUs), which are described as "third-socket" components for datacenters after central processing units (CPUs) and graphical processing units. The idea behind these Linux-based system-on-chip DPUs is to improve on the inefficiencies of data-centric computations that exist with hyperconverged infrastructures. Fungible's approach enables the disaggregation of datacenter resources that later can be composed for particular workloads.

"Thanks to the disaggregation and composability enabled by the Fungible DPU, an operator will be able to construct a 'bare metal data center' tailored to a particular workload on demand within in a few minutes by assembling available compute and storage resources, independently of where they are physically located within the data center," Fungible explained, in its DPU white paper (PDF download).

Fungible's DPUs are designed to work with existing off-the-shelf datacenter hardware, acting as a traffic controller and a complement to the CPU. The disaggregation of datacenter resources is accomplished through Fungible's TrueFabric software.

Fungible's DPUs and composable disaggregated infrastructure solutions are an emerging category of systems designed to address datacenter scalability issues according to an IDC "Technology Spotlight" publication (PDF download). These solutions also will work with a "hybrid" cloud approaches, according to IDC analyst and "Technology Spotlight" author Ashish Nadkarni:

The solutions disaggregate compute and data persistence (storage) elements into pools of resources that can be composed in a software-defined manner and consumed as code. Such approaches are secure and can be deployed in a connected, hybrid cloud manner at a competitive total cost of ownership relative to all-in public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service investments.

Fungible's technologies will be used to bolster Microsoft's "high-performance, scalable, disaggregated, scaled-out datacenter infrastructure with reliability and security," Microsoft's announcement explained. Fungible's personnel will be joining Microsoft's "datacenter infrastructure engineering teams" as part of the deal.

Fungible, formed in 2015, issued an announcement that it was excited to become a part of Microsoft. The announcement noted that Fungible first invented its DPU in 2016 to address the main problem of scale-out datacenters, namely "the inefficient execution of data-centric computations within server nodes."

Fungible's solutions have been used by companies like IBM and VMware. VMware has used the Fungible Storage Cluster to support high-performance VMware vSphere environments. IBM has used the Fungible Storage Cluster as a shared storage component of IBM's Spectrum Scale.

The terms of the deal weren't described by Microsoft or Fungible.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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