AI and big data developer Inovia wanted to offer its clients the latest and greatest in AI technology. But hosting its data-intensive training cycles on x86 servers meant they could take years to run.
Inovia worked with Conoa to replace its existing x86 platform with IBM Power Systems™ servers equipped with the latest IBM POWER9 processors, dramatically increasing performance of AI workloads.
10xshorter development times, enabling Inovia to bring solutions to market much faster
Speeds uptraining of AI models, cutting months or years from time-to-market
EmpowersInovia to deliver the latest AI innovations to clients, capitalizing on demand
Business challenge story
Meeting growing demand for AI
Artificial intelligence and machine-learning technologies are advancing all the time, with new capabilities and innovations always just around the corner. Herein lies the challenge for Inovia, a Swedish tech company specializing in AI and big data solutions. To deliver truly cutting-edge solutions and services, the company knew it needed to shorten its lengthy development cycles.
Marcus Ekendahl, Founder & Chief Services Officer at Inovia, elaborates: “Speed to market is so important, as our clients are always eager to harness the very latest AI innovations. However, training AI models on our previous x86 server platform was a very time-consuming process – a single training cycle could take up to four weeks. Bearing in mind that we have to test and change the parameters repeatedly, it used to take several years to get a solution ready for launch.”
To shorten the training, test and validation cycle, Inovia looked to replace its x86 platform with a high-performance infrastructure better suited to handling data-intensive AI workloads.
After evaluating solutions from several vendors, Inovia selected IBM Power Systems as its strategic platform for AI training, supported by IBM Business Partner Conoa.
Magnus Halvarsson, System Architect at Inovia, recalls: “Conoa lent us a POWER8-based server to try out, so we ran lots of tests based on our complex algorithms and large data sets. The results were eye-opening. A training cycle that took 10 weeks on our x86 platform was finished in just one week. With results like that, IBM Power Systems was the obvious choice.”
Inovia worked closely with Conoa to implement an IBM Power System Accelerated Compute Server (AC922), featuring IBM POWER9 CPUs and NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs – connected by NVIDIA NVLink, a high-bandwidth, low-latency interconnect that allows data to move from one type of processing unit to the other at high speed.
“The built-in NVIDIA NVLink really impressed us,” says Marcus Ekendahl. “The direct connection between the CPUs and the GPUs boosts performance, enabling us to run large jobs much faster and more efficiently than was previously possible.”
As part of the transition from x86 to IBM Power Systems, Inovia worked with Conoa to compile and optimize its Linux application code for the POWER® architecture. The company took advantage of the many ready-made packages available via the OpenPOWER Foundation, reducing the time and effort required.
Marcus Ekendahl adds: “We couldn’t be happier with the support from Conoa. They helped us at every stage of the project, and all along the way proved their deep technical expertise and excellent know-how around IBM Power Systems. The Conoa team is always available to answer any questions we have, and we appreciate having local support here in Sweden.”
Specifically built to handle compute and data-intensive AI workloads, Inovia has seen performance skyrocket since the move to IBM POWER9 processor-based servers.
Magnus Halvarsson comments: “POWER9 delivers outstanding performance and is perfectly suited to the task at hand: accelerating the training of AI models. Thanks to the parallel processing capabilities, we can run training cycles 10 times faster than before.”
With IBM Power Systems underpinning crucial development workloads, Inovia is confident that it can build and bring new solutions and services to market faster than ever before – enabling it to satisfy clients’ demands for the very latest in AI technology.
Having dramatically accelerated its training, test and validation cycles, Inovia now offers AI-as-a-Service (AIaaS), enabling its clients to use the latest AI algorithms out of the box.
Marcus Ekendahl concludes: “We want to give our clients the option of accessing our AI solutions online, as a cloud service, rather than having to install our software on their own hardware. By making our AI and machine-learning solutions more easily accessible, we’re hoping to expand our client base. We’re planning to implement a separate IBM Power Systems cluster to host the AIaaS workloads, and are already in talks with Conoa and IBM to make this a reality.”
Inovia is one of Scandinavia’s leading big data and artificial intelligence solution providers. The company’s experienced team of developers, data scientists and machine-learning experts builds innovative AI solutions and services, designed to give its clients a competitive edge. Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Inovia employs 55 people.
Take the next step
For more information on IBM PowerAI Enterprise, please visit https://www.ibm.com/us-en/marketplace/deep-learning-platform/details
To learn more about IBM Power Systems, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/power
Conoa is an IT consultant with extensive expertise in Enterprise Linux and UNIX. Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Conoa helps its clients design cost-effective, future-proof and flexible IT infrastructures. Its team of consultants work with companies across a wide range of industries to optimize their IT. To learn more about products and services from Conoa, visit: www.conoa.se