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Intel acquires Granulate to boost cloud workload speeds

To improve performance of workloads spanning multiple clouds and on-premises environments, Intel acquired Granulate Cloud Solutions, specialists in autonomous optimization tools.

Building out its portfolio of software optimization tools, Intel today acquired Israel-based Granulate Cloud Solutions Ltd. for an undisclosed sum.

Granulate's offering is designed to continuously boost the performance of compute workloads in larger data centers, while reportedly reducing infrastructure and cloud costs.

"Granulate's software can be applied to production workloads without requiring customers to make changes to its code, driving optimized hardware and software value for every cloud and data center customer," said Sandra Rivera, executive vice president and general manager of Intel's data center and AI group, in a prepared statement.

Cloud computing and microservices have created more flexibility for distributed applications and deployment scalability, but they have also created complex performance issues that can't be efficiently managed by existing operating systems and application libraries.

Another complicating factor holding down performance is that many IT pros continue to use or deploy older versions of Windows, Linux and application libraries that aren't compatible with the latest processors, according to Intel.

Intel believes Granulate's software can address these issues by reducing CPU utilization and application latencies. It does this by intelligently learning how users' applications work and then leveraging a customized set of continuous optimizations at runtime, the company said.

This [acquisition] puts autonomous optimization at the silicon level instead of the cloud management/cluster management level. It yields better performance, but also higher productivity, and places less strain on IT resources.
Daniel NewmanPrincipal analyst, Futurum Research, and CEO, Broadsuite Media Group

The acquisition, which has been widely rumored since early March, is a logical step for the company to take, according to one analyst.

Daniel Newman, principal analyst, Futurum ResearchDaniel Newman

"This [acquisition] puts autonomous optimization at the silicon level instead of the cloud management/cluster management level," said Daniel Newman, principal analyst at Futurum Research and CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. "It yields better performance, but also higher productivity, and places less strain on IT resources."

The addition of Granulate's software to Intel's network management software portfolio could strengthen the latter's competitive position against Nvidia, which also has been acquiring similar companies to fill out the management of its high-performing computing systems.

In May 2020, Nvidia acquired Cumulus Networks, which Nvidia said would allow it to optimize a complete networking stack from chips to application software, including its Cumulus NetQ. The networking platform lets enterprises and cloud-scale data centers gain better control over their operations.

In 2019, Nvidia spent $6.9 billion to acquire Mellanox, which also helps boost data center-class workloads across computing, networking and storage stacks, and reportedly lowers operating costs.

Intel officials expect Granulate's software to help users right-size their compute clusters and cloud deployments. In so doing, Granulate's software can be deployed on smaller compute clusters. It also helps reduce costs by eliminating the need for developers to get involved in the implementation, according to Intel.

Granulate's offering works across multiple clouds and on-premises environments, including Microsoft Azure and AWS, boosting response times up to 40% and throughput by up to five times, depending on how complex an individual user's environment is.

The deal is expected to close sometime in this year's second quarter. At that time, Granulate's 120 employees will join Intel's data center and AI business unit.

As Editor at Large with TechTarget's News Group, Ed Scannell is responsible for writing and reporting breaking news, news analysis and features focused on technology issues and trends affecting corporate IT professionals.

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