AMD said early Monday that it plans to acquire networking chipmaker Pensando for $1.9 billion in cash, in a bid to arm itself with tech that competes with directly with Nvidia and Intel’s data-center chip packages.
Pensando was founded by several former Cisco engineers, and makes edge computing technology that competes with AWS Nitro, Intel’s DPU launched last year and Nvidia’s data processing units called BlueField. In a release distributed in advance of the announcement, AMD said that buying the closely held Pensando will give it a networking platform that will bolster its existing server chip lineup.
Pensando’s chips are an increasingly important part of data center design, as it becomes impossible to simply throw larger numbers of processors at demanding computing tasks. As regular chips scale up, the networking connections become a bottleneck, and the DPU’s goal (Intel calls it an IPU) is to free up the central processor to perform other functions.
AMD said it expects the deal to close before July, and if it does, Pensando CEO Prem Jain will move to AMD’s data center unit headed by Vice President Forrest Norrod. Pensando counts large cloud businesses such as Azure, IBM Cloud and Oracle as customers. The Milpitas, California-based company began operations roughly five years ago, and has raised more than $300 million, according to Crunchbase.