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AI as a service has become mainstream: Rajesh Gupta, Micron

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With its expertise in the memory segment, Micron is seeing increasing growth from the data center segment. Being a company with a portfolio of DRAM, NAND and 3D XPoint technologies, Micron is uniquely positioned to benefit from the secular data growth that is driving the cloud, enterprise and networking markets. Rajesh Gupta, Country Manager- India, Sales, Micron, shares his perspective on the key data center market trends specifically with respect to memory and storage

Some edited excerpts from the interview:

How has the data center market changed with respect to design and infrastructure in the past 2 years? What are some of the key factors?
The last two years has seen AI-as-a-service become mainstream, intelligence migrate to the edge, and 5G come to life. This is going to propel fundamental changes in the way server systems are architected. Memory will extend into multiple infrastructure pools—and will become a shared resource. And the lines between storage and memory will blur. You’ll no longer think “DRAM for memory and NAND for storage.” Instead, faster NAND will create the ability to use it as memory, and applications will grow in their sophistication to utilize resourcing in innovative ways. Going forward, we’ll also see enterprises seeking new kinds of solutions such as storage-class memory and memory virtualization to further unlock the value of AI and exploding volumes of data.

How has Micron positioned its products with respect to changing data center market trends?

Micron differentiates itself with technical expertise in data center workloads and solution architectures; a broad portfolio mix; and strong design collaborations.  For example, Micron is addressing the demands of today’s data center with unique DRAM and NAND advancements that deliver new capabilities to data centric platforms. We’ve coupled this innovation with the introduction of new technologies. To improve AI inference at scale, we’ve partnered with NVIDIA on delivery of GDDR6X, the first in the industry to implement PAM4 multi-level signaling in memory, creating a new benchmark for future generations of graphics memory. To fuel energy efficient memory scaling sought in high performance computing, we’re delivering high-bandwidth memory solutions to the market. Combined, these innovations represent the broadest portfolio of data center memory and storage in the market.

In January, Micron announced that it has begun sampling DDR5 Registered DIMMs (RDIMM), based on its industry-leading 1znm process technology. DDR5, the most technologically advanced DRAM to date, will enable the next generation of server workloads by delivering more than an 85% increase in memory performance. DDR5 doubles memory density while improving reliability at a time when data center system architects seek to supply rapidly growing processor core counts with increased memory bandwidth and capacity.

What are some of the defining data center market trends specifically with respect to memory and storage?
The explosion of data is intensifying demands on computation and data center infrastructure. The world is generating and analyzing more data than ever before, with the growing pervasiveness of AI workloads, and app-heavy devices – which will only expand with the rollout of 5G. While this transformation has the opportunity to deliver new insights and competitive advantage, the architectural foundation that has driven data center computing for the past two decades is challenged to keep pace with these sophisticated workload demands.

To meet the needs of these data-rich workloads, designing a platform architecture that is flexible and scalable is key. Future data centers need heterogeneous compute, a re-imagined memory and storage hierarchy, and an open, agnostic interconnect to tie it all together and enable composable systems that can evolve with workloads.
This is the data center of the future.

Future roadmap – How do you see the future unfolding?
AI and data-centric workloads will drive long-term growth, with memory and storage becoming an increasing portion of server BOM cost. Data Centers are fuelling the growth in the tech industry today with the next wave of Digital Transformation. On the other hand, Enterprise demand, which had been anaemic for the last few quarters, is starting to improve as IT budgets increase in anticipation of economic recovery.

Micron has an excellent position in the market with a broad portfolio and deep customer partnerships. While the technology solutions are rapidly helping society adapt and manage the temporary and permanent changes stemming from the current scenario, clearly, certain trends that would have taken 2 to 4 years to develop have been accelerated into months. It is easy to see how these changes will drive higher consumption of memory and storage in the long term.

Perspective on the Indian market and growth prospects
Not only does the India hold immense potential for Micron’s products, India gives Micron access to large pool of engineering talent that is helping Micron build the next generation of memory products.
Micron has set up two global development centers in both Hyderabad and Bengaluru and has ramped up operations across a wide range of research, engineering, IT and business domains. Currently 1700 team members strong, we will be about 5000 strong in the next three to four years depending on market conditions.

To develop and grow our local business, we have a sales team located across many cities in India along with a set of reputed distributors. India is an exciting emerging market for a wide range of industrial electronics, embedded, mobile, compute, networking, gaming and consumer products. Micron delivers the industry’s most exhaustive and expansive portfolio of memory & storage products.

Micron sales team is working on covering these multiple segments of opportunities and making our industry leading DRAM and NAND products available widely across the country. During the last couple of years, with the increased focus on local manufacturing, we see significant increase in Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) developing in India. Many key global EMS’s and OEMs are looking at India as one of their manufacturing destinations for this large market. In the near to mid-term, the mobile phone manufacturing is especially poised for strong growth in the country. Memory & storage products are at the heart of this developing ecosystem and offer a strong growth opportunity for Micron.

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