Published in AI

GPU farmers are making a killing

by on07 May 2024


And on that farm he had a GPU 

CoreWeave, which started as a crypto miner, has just bagged a whopping €1.02 billion ($1.1 billion) in fresh dosh from backers like Coatue, Fidelity, and Altimeter Capital as big money wants to invest in AI.

This cash splash rockets its worth to a staggering €17.59 billion ( $19 billion) post-money, and its total haul to €4.63 billion ($5 billion) in debt and equity. Not too shabby for a firm not even a decade old!

Meanwhile, Lambda Labs, purveyors of cloud-hosted GPU goodies, nabbed a "special purpose financing vehicle" to the tune of €463 million (a neat $500 million), hot on the heels of a €296.3 million ($320 million) Series C round. Then there's Voltage Park, the pet project of crypto tycoon Jed McCaleb, splashing out €463 million ($500 million) on GPU-fuelled data centres last October. And let's not forget Together AI, the cloud GPU host with a knack for generative AI research, which pocketed a nifty €98.14 million ($106 million) in a Salesforce-led round in March.

It's all down to the generative AI craze. As the frenzy for generative AI carries on, so does the clamour for the kit to run and train these brainy AI models on a grand scale. GPUs are the darlings of the AI world, thanks to their thousands of cores that can juggle the maths behind AI models. But kitting out your GPU farm costs a pretty penny, so the cloud's where it's at.

The big dogs of cloud computing – Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure – are all in on the action, offering a smorgasbord of GPU and fancy hardware instances tailor-made for generative AI tasks. Sometimes, these alternative clouds can be kinder on the wallet and have gear ready to go when needed.

CoreWeave will rent an Nvidia A100 40GB – a hot pick for model training – will set you back €2.21 (just $2.39) per hour, or €1,112 ($1,200) for the month. Over at Azure, the same kit costs €3.15 ($3.40) per hour, or a hefty €2,299 ($2,482) monthly; and at Google Cloud, it's €3.40 ($3.67) per hour, or an eye-watering €2,485 ($2,682) per month. And since generative AI shenanigans usually need a gang of GPUs, those price differences can really add up.

Gartner cloud expert Sid Nag told Techcrunch that companies like CoreWeave are 'GPU as a service' cloud providers with a twist."

“With GPUs in high demand, they're giving the big cloud players a run for their money, offering another way to get your hands on those Nvidia GPUs."

Even tech giants are turning to these upstarts as they hit their own computing oomph limits. Microsoft inked a multi-billion-euro deal with CoreWeave last June to juice up enough power to train OpenAI's AI models.

"Nvidia, the chip champ supplying most of CoreWeave's silicon, is chuffed to bits about this trend. Word on the street is they've even given some of these alternative cloud providers first dibs on their GPUs," spills TechCrunch.

 

Last modified on 07 May 2024
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