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Accelerating AI to Unlock Your Business Potential with Microsoft Azure Stack HCI

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The adoption of AI technology has skyrocketed, reshaping business decision-making processes. It's no longer a question of whether to embrace AI but rather how to leverage its capabilities to gain a competitive edge. Real-time insights from faster AI inferencing can transform your business, but successfully implementing AI remains challenging for many organizations. So how can you successfully implement AI on your server infrastructure to gain insights from your data faster? How can you run AI workloads efficiently on your hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) while keeping your data safe in an era of persistent cyber threats?  

The Solution is Here.    

Through extensive testing, Intel engineers found that by using Microsoft Azure Stack HCI and the accelerators built into 4th Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, organizations can boost AI inferencing by up to 9.3x by using a higher series processor or changing precision to accelerate AI workloads while boosting data security. And in a world where faster data insights can mean maintaining a competitive edge, that is a big deal!  

How Does it Work?    

Microsoft Azure is a resilient, scalable platform for your workloads and app development, topped with a set of management and operations services.  Microsoft Azure Arc is a bridge that extends the Azure platform to help you build applications and services with the flexibility to run them from cloud to data center to edge. It allows you to manage resources across all your environments using consistent Azure management tools. One of the services offered through Azure Arc is Azure Machine Learning, which accelerates users’ time to value with MLOps by orchestrating workflows with built-in governance, security and compliance for running responsible AI workloads anywhere.  

Microsoft Azure Stack HCI is a hybrid cloud solution that brings together hyperconverged infrastructure with the services, management and governance capabilities of Azure Arc.  It delivers the value of cloud operations and architecture to any environment - on-premises, multicloud, or at the edge. Azure Stack HCI supports the built-in AI acceleration offered by the 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors, so you can swiftly infer critical insights to achieve your business objectives.   

Need to scale AI across different workloads and hybrid environments? Then Intel® Advanced Matrix Extensions (Intel® AMX) is your answer to increasing AI inference throughput as well as enabling small model training and tuning at multiple levels of precision. While many users believe a discrete GPU is required for AI workloads, most inference workloads run on the CPU today, and the built-in AMX accelerator expands the types and sizes of models that will achieve strong results.   

Protecting data used in AI models and across a range of workloads is a top concern.  Microsoft Azure Stack HCI utilizes Intel® Total Memory Encryption to encrypt a computer’s entire memory system, Intel® Crypto Acceleration to accelerate encryption of stored data without trading off performance, while Secured-Core Server, a collaboration between Microsoft, Intel and OEM partners, simplifies security enablement while providing advanced protection against threats. Together these accelerators, built into the processors and supported by Microsoft, provide a layered defense for all of your workloads at each stage of use.  

Want to Learn More?  

Our Solution Design Brief goes into detail on the testing we’ve done, including the overall benefits, setup, test methodologies, results, configuration details, plus other pertinent information to help you explore this new solution for your business to securely harness the potential of AI.   

With a modern hybrid cloud infrastructure based on Microsoft Azure Arc and Azure Stack HCI that takes advantage of the technology advancements and built-in accelerators of Intel Xeon processors, now you can respond to the rapidly changing landscape for AI with the flexibility to scale workloads across your IT estate. 

About the Author
Christine is a strategic marketing leader and spokesperson advocating for hybrid cloud with hyperconverged infrastructure as the most efficient path to digital transformation. She develops Intel's hyperconverged and hybrid cloud strategy, collaborates with technology partners to optimize their software to take advantage of new Intel technologies, then co-markets these optimized solutions to drive clear business outcomes. Christine has over 20 years of experience in the computing industry across products and services for cloud, servers and storage systems, and previously PCs, notebooks and handheld devices. She holds an MBA from the Johnson School at Cornell University. Christine is excited to see better and easier options for businesses to modernize and transform their infrastructure! Based in Portland, Oregon, Christine is a foodie and an avid fan of hiking, ballroom and latin dancing, and ikebana.