The Hardware of Azure with Rani Borkar

About Show #940

What hardware runs Azure today and into the future? While at Build in Seattle, Richard sat down with Rani Borkar to discuss the hardware that makes up Azure Compute, including examples of the new Cobalt and Maia processors! Rani talks about Cobalt first, Microsoft's ARM processor designed for workloads in the cloud. Then, a look at the Maia processor, which focuses on neural net workloads like large language models. As Rani explains, the scale of the work coming to the cloud today allows for specialized hardware - you would likely not want to buy a machine this specialized for yourself, but you can rent it by the minute in Azure!


Recorded May 22, 2024


Rani Borkar is the Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Azure Hardware Systems and Infrastructure. In her role, she leads the core organizations responsible for planning, architecting, developing, and deploying hardware and infrastructure for Microsoft's leading cloud computing platform—from silicon, to systems, to supply chain. Over the last 35 years, Rani has established herself as a pioneer in the semiconductor industry, a technology executive, product visionary, and trusted leader. Her leadership has intersected the most seminal platform shifts in the evolution of modern computing: the rise of the PC, the introduction of consumer mobile, the arrival of multi-core processors, and the proliferation of digital transformation via cloud, AI, and quantum computing. Leading with the philosophy of "mission first, people always," Rani has inspired and transformed organizations by building close-knit communities. To produce great technology, she believes in the power of combining technology assets and engineering talent with the values of collaboration, innovation, and risk-taking, thereby empowering teams to innovate and move the industry forward.

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