Data centers are going to have to be software-defined
Nvidia has posted strong growth in its fourth quarter driven by datacentre tech demand and the continued expansion of ray tracing computer graphics in videogames. However, the GPU firm has knocked £76 million ($100) off of its Q1 estimate due to Covid-19 virus concerns.
Nvidia’s revenue for its fourth quarter was £2.3 billion ($3.11) up by 41 percent YoY, while its net income also rose YoY by 68 percent to £728 ($950). Nvidia’s strong growth in the quarter was primary driven by a wider adoption of accelerated computing.
Datacentre revenues were up by 43 percent YoY with significant growth of 33 percent in that last quarter alone, amassing sales of £742 ($968)
Nvidia CFO Colette Kress noted in a conference call that: “Hyperscale demand was driven by purchases of both, our training and inference products, in support of key AI workloads such as, natural language understanding, conversational AI and deep recommendators.”
“Hyperscale demand was also driven by cloud computing. AWS now makes, the T4 available in every region. This underscores the versatility of the T4, which excels at a wide array of high-performance computing workloads, including AI inference, cloud gaming, rendering, and virtual desktop.”
Big announcements over the year that helped to drive the record datacentre sales included the first scalable GPU-accelerated supercomputer in the cloud with Microsoft Azure, Alibaba’s and Baidu’s recommendation engines adoption of NVIDIA AI and the introduced of NVIDIA TensorRT 7, an inference software development kit.
CEO Jensen Huang commented in a call with investors that: “The way to think about that long-term is acceleration is essential because of end of Dennard scaling. Process technology is going to demand that we compute in a different way. And the way that AI has evolved and deep learning, it suggests that acceleration on GPUs is just a really phenomenal approach.”
“I believe that in the future the data center will all be accelerated. It will be all running AI models and it will be software defined and will be programmable and having an accelerated computing platform is essential.”
Nvidia believes itself to be in a ‘really healthy’ position in the gaming industry as it continues to push its ray tracing graphics capabilities, noting that the catalog of ray tracing enabled games is about to triple as over 30 new games have been announced.
Gaming laptop sales for Nvidia have seen double-digit growth for eight consecutive quarters. In the last holiday season retailers stocked 125 gaming laptops models based on NVIDIA GPUs, up from 94 the previous year.
CEO Huang commented that: “The amount of notebook sales and the success of Nintendo Switch has really changed the profile of our overall gaming business.”
Interestingly he believes that the sales of notebooks represent the growth of a new gaming category stating that: “Like it’s a new game console. This is going to be the largest game console in the world I believe. And the reason for that is because there are more people with laptops than there are of any other device.”
The Covid-19 virus is affecting every industry in some manner, but technology firms who rely on China for sales and supply lines are anticipating losses due to the outbreak. As such Nvidia have reduced its revenue outlook for the first quarter of 2021 by £76 million ($100).
Nvidia CFO Colette Kress told a concerned investor that: “It’s really still quite early in terms of trying to figure out what the impact from the overall coronavirus maybe. So, we’re not necessarily precise in terms of our estimate. Yes, our estimates are split between an impact possibly on gaming and data center, and split pretty much equally. The $100 million also reflects what may be supply challenges or maybe overall demand. But we’re still looking at those to get a better understanding where we think that might be.”