AMD to acquire Pensando for $1.9 billion • The Register

AMD has announced that it will acquire network supplier Pensando for $1.9 billion.

Pensando co-founder and CTO Vipin Jain recently said: The register the company aims to be “the Nvidia of infrastructure” by building an accelerator that relieves CPUs from the need to perform common network tasks (feel free to call it a SmartNIC/DPU/IPU) and couple that with a distributed services platform that orchestrates the deployment of relevant workloads in those devices.

“We’re building a processor that can run cloud processes at obscenely high speeds and low costs,” Jain said, before claiming the company has a product that works for both hyperscalers and smaller service providers.

The company emerged from stealth two years ago, has a management team that has launched multi-billion dollar companies elsewhere, including at Cisco, and has won investments from Qualcomm and Ericsson.

Illustration of a cube hung in a data center: it represents weird but cool new technology

SmartNICs, IPUs, DPUs de-hyped: why and how cloud giants transfer the work of server CPUs


AMD’s confirmation of the deal reveals that Pensando kit has already found a home with Goldman Sachs, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud.

In the formal announcement, Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Azure Girish Bablani noted, “We’ve seen a 40x improvement in overall cloud-based connection-related performance. Pensando achieved this in less than 12 months.”

Oracle Cloud executive vice president Clay Magouyrk praised Pensando as “an important strategic partner.”

Also in announcing the acquisition, Lisa Su, AMD Chairman and CEO, stated, “Building a leading data center with the best performance, security, flexibility and the lowest total cost of ownership requires a wide range of computing engines.”

“Today, with our acquisition of Pensando, we are adding an industry-leading distributed services platform to our high-performance CPU, GPU, FPGA and adaptive SoC portfolio… empowering us to provide industry-leading solutions for our cloud, enterprise and edge customers.”

That reference to edge may well include carriers and 5G, a role in which SmartNICs are expected to play a major role by increasing compute density and efficiency at base stations.

Pensando CEO Prem Jain is quoted as “excited to join the AMD family” both on a personal level and on behalf of Pensando, which will become part of AMD’s Data Center Solutions Group, led by AMD senior veep and GM Forrest Norrod.

One thing the announcement doesn’t address is what the deal means for AMD’s acquisition of Xilinx, which also involved SmartNICs. It’s not hard to see Xilinx getting excited about working with Pensando’s silicone designs.

The sale is expected to close within the next 90 days. When it’s done, AMD will likely have a better SmartNIC position than big rival Intel, which is still figuring out its hardware and working with partners like Nvidia and VMware for orchestration software.

The latter is considered a commercial release of code for managing SmartNIC/IPU/DPU hardware, meaning AMD stole a march with the acquisition of Pensando.

Leave a Comment