HPE and Dell sell more, but make less with AI servers. Hashtag Trending for Friday, June 7, 2024

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High Tech, Low Profits for HPE’s AI Servers, Equinix Unlocks Value from Data Center Waste Heat, Asana launches an AI assist for project management,

And you can keep that VPN to watch Netflix, but you won’t need it anymore for AI – Claude.ai is coming to Canada.

These stories and more on this “it’s about time” edition of Hashtag Trending. I’m your host Jim Love, let’s get into it.

We don’t do a ton of announcement on the podcast, but we make exceptions when these come from listeners. And one of our listeners wrote in to say that he is participating in public hearings that on Toronto, Canada’s new public internet strategy. The city is looking for public input on how to expand this offering both to add to enjoyment of the public but also to help close the digital divide for those who might not be able to afford good internet in low income areas. If you want to find out more or join in, there’s a link to this in the show notes.


If there’s a story in this, and we have at least one engaged listener attending or even submitting, we’ll cover it. And now back to the news.

There’s been a big focus on trying to offset or mitigate the insatiable and ever-growing hunger for power required to drive cloud and AI datacentres.

That power is used to drive computer cycles and also, importantly, to drive cooling systems to deal with the enormous heat that these systems generate.

But Equinix, a global data centre company has added a new strategy. Rather than letting that thermal energy go to waste, Equinix, has an innovative solution – exporting the residual heat to nearby buildings and communities.

Melissa Felician, Sustainable Data Center Operations Manager at Equinix, explains the program:

“Our Heat Export initiative allows us to capture the waste heat produced in our data centers and pump it directly into municipal heating networks. It’s a sustainable way to repurpose what was previously an untapped byproduct.”

The concept is already operational at Equinix’s TR5 data center in Toronto, Canada. The facility is providing heat to multiple residential towers, a hotel, university campus, and shopping mall in downtown Markham through a partnership with the local district energy provider.

But Equinix has bigger plans on the horizon. Their newest Paris (not Paris, Ontario, but Paris France) data center, set to open later this year, will export waste heat to the Plaine Saulnier urban development zone and the Olympic Aquatic Centre hosting events for the 2024 Summer Games.

Source includes: Equinix

Forget about coding assistance, someone has finally focused on the real area that needs help in IT – project management.

The project management software company Asana is unleashing artificial intelligence to help workers be more productive. They’ve rolled out “AI teammates” – AI-powered assistants that can take on certain tasks and workflows within Asana’s platform.

Here’s how it works: Users enable the AI teammate feature and can then delegate assignments to their AI co-worker. The teammate can triage incoming requests, gather necessary data, generate content like feedback or suggestions, and move projects through their predetermined processes.

If a task requires human input, the AI will loop in its flesh-and-blood counterparts. But the goal is to let the AI handle as much of the routine, repetitive work as possible.

Asana is utilizing large language models from OpenAI and Anthropic to power the AI capabilities, while ensuring customer data privacy.

Palo Alto Networks is one major enterprise already testing Asana’s AI teammates in their workflows. Paige Costello, Asana’s Head of AI, explains the premise:

“We expect AI will help people achieve more complex work over time, but the human is ultimately accountable. The AI teammate aims to reduce busywork, not create more interactions.”

And as anyone who has every worked in a Project Management office will tell you, there is lots of “busy work.”

Sources include:

For technology giants like Hewlett Packard Enterprise that have taken a beating as the enterprise PC market demand shrank over the past two years, there is finally some good new with a huge and growing demand and increasing sales for cutting-edge artificial intelligence systems. The bad news is that this may not lead to increased profits – at least for now.
In HPE’s latest quarter ended April 30th, AI server revenues more than doubled to over $900 million. But that surge came at the expense of profitability in HPE’s core Server group, where earnings before taxes dropped nearly 10%.

Dell is facing similar challenges. While posting staggering $1.7 billion in AI system sales last quarter, a tenfold jump year-over-year, those revenues actually eroded Dell’s margins in its Infrastructure Solutions Group.

Tom Prickett Morgan, co-editor of The Next Platform, analyzed the financials:

“No one has ever gotten rich in the High Performance Computing business, and we stand by that observation. What we do know is that Dell and HPE need to sell AI servers and figure out how to do it profitably.”

The culprit? Limited GPU supply from Nvidia and pricing pressures. As Prickett Morgan notes, HPE and Dell are hoping to eventually reap profits by selling AI inference systems to the masses, once the initial training system sales ramp subsides.

Now if only there was a new software that would force consumers to have to upgrade their systems…

Sources include: Next Platform

Was it something we said? It seems Canada is always being left behind on launches of new software, but in the area of AI, it really hurts. After all, it’s a Canadian, Geoffrey Hinton who is known as the “godfather of AI” and some of the pioneering work in neural networks for AI was done right here in Canada. In other words, generative AI as we know it might not be the same without Canada. You’re welcome.

But it seems that Anthropic, the AI company is going to say “sorry” in their own way by finally bringing their Claude.ai to Canada.

We’ve been a big fan of the advanced AI assistant Claude, but we’ve been sneaking in via VPN. But now, Claude is available to Canadians. Claude, for those who don’t know, was created by artificial intelligence research company Anthropic.

Anthropic was founded by a senior exec that left OpenAI to pursue what they thought was a better safer AI. I’m sure they have kept that ideal, but in the process they also created one of the best AI engines for writing that is out there today.

Claude offers state-of-the-art language capabilities powered by large language models like Claude 3, Sonnet, and Haiku.

Starting today, people and businesses across Canada can access Claude through multiple channels – the web interface at claude.ai, the iOS mobile app, or integration via the Claude API for developers.

For personal use, there is a free claude.ai offering or a $28 per month Claude Pro subscription that unlocks all models, increased usage, and early access to new features. Anthropic is also launching a $42 per month Claude Team plan for secure collaborative workspaces.

Michael Lee Litzel, Head of Product at Anthropic, highlighted the significance:

“Canada has been a global leader in responsible AI development and deployment. We’re thrilled to bring Claude’s cutting-edge language skills to businesses and individuals nationwide as they explore powerful AI for an array of use cases.”

From creative writing to analysis and coding assistance, the multi-talented Claude promises to boost productivity and open new AI-powered possibilities for its Canadian users.

As artificial intelligence continues its rapid advancement, innovative models like Claude are poised to make a big impact across many industries and facets of daily life in the Great White North where, it will always be called Claude and never Clod.

And we’ll know that it has truly been trained on Canadian data when it makes a mistake and says, “sorry, eh?”

And that’s it for today’s show. Remember that you can get us on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. We’re available on YouTube in both audio and video format.

Show notes are on Tech Newsday dot com or dot ca. Take your pick.

I’m your host Jim Love, have a Fantastic Friday…


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