AMD to acquire edge computing startup Pensando for US$1.9bn

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is acquiring Pensando for US$1.9bn to bolster its data centre products and to meet demand from cloud and enterprise sectors

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has announced a definitive agreement to acquire distributed services platform maker Pensando for US$1.9bn.

Pensando, which was founded in 2017 by a group of four ex-Cisco Systems Inc engineers, already has Goldman Sachs and Microsoft Corp's cloud unit Azure as its customers. The startup makes a fully programmable processor and a software platform, which helps enterprise clients and data centre customers to function more like cloud computing data centers like Amazon's Amazon Web Services.

“We are excited to join the AMD family. Our shared cultures of innovation, excellence and relentless focus on partners and customers make this an ideal combination. Together, we have the talent and tools to deliver on our customers’ vision for the future of computing,” said Pensando CEO Prem Jain.

“In less than five years Pensando has assembled a best-in-class engineering team that are experts in building systems together with a rich, deep ecosystem of partners and customers who have currently deployed over 100,000 Pensando platforms into production. Joining together with AMD will help accelerate growth in our core business and enable us to pursue a much larger customer base across more markets.”

Growing to meet the continuous demand 

Pensando’s distributed services platform includes a programmable packet processor that can be distributed throughout a network to efficiently accelerate multiple infrastructure services simultaneously, offloading workloads from the CPU and increasing overall system performance. 

In real-world cloud deployments, according to the company, Pensando’s solution demonstrates between 8x and 13x greater performance compared to competitive solutions.

“To build a leading-edge data centre with the best performance, security, flexibility and lowest total cost of ownership requires a wide range of compute engines,” said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD chair and CEO. “All major cloud and OEM customers have adopted EPYC processors to power their data centre offerings. Today, with our acquisition of Pensando, we add a leading distributed services platform to our high-performance CPU, GPU, FPGA and adaptive SoC portfolio. The Pensando team brings world-class expertise and a proven track record of innovation at the chip, software and platform level which expands our ability to offer leadership solutions for our cloud, enterprise and edge customers.”

Shaping the data centre landscape 

A data centre is a physical facility that organisations use to house their critical applications and data. A data centre's design is based on a network of computing and storage resources that enable the delivery of shared applications and data. 

The key components of a data centre design include routers, switches, firewalls, storage systems, servers, and application delivery controllers. In a cloud data centre, data and applications are hosted by a cloud services provider such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft (Azure), or IBM Cloud or other public cloud providers.

"The performance and scale of Pensando’s distributed services platform is 8x-13x of the largest cloud provider and uses less power. Pensando’s smart switching architecture has 100x the scale, 10x the performance at one-third the cost of ownership of any comparable products in the enterprise market. Pensando’s leadership position in software-defined cloud, compute, networking, security and storage services as part of the much larger AMD portfolio is in my opinion a perfect fit to shape the data centre computing landscape for the next decade,” said John Chambers, chair of the board of Pensando.

As part of the acquisition, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022, CEO Prem Jain and the Pensando team will join AMD as part of the Data Centre Solutions Group, led by AMD Senior Vice President and General Manager Forrest Norrod.

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