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These 9 Top Nvidia Partners Are Driving AI Growth Across Industries

Craig Weinstein, vice president of Nvidia’s Americas partner organization, tells CRN that the company’s top partners from 2020 are ‘building capabilities inside their own companies’ to address the growing need to solve problems in vertical industries with AI computing: ‘What we’re seeing is there’s a direct correlation to the investments and the capabilities of the [partners] that help customers move quickly and the revenue returns and the gross margin returns that they’re seeing.’

Nvidia said its top data center partners for 2020 were integral in driving adoption of AI applications among customers in vertical industries while embracing the chipmaker’s transformation into a major provider of silicon, systems and software.

In an interview with CRN, Craig Weinstein, vice president of Nvidia’s Americas partner organization, said the 2020 partners of the year in the Nvidia Partner Network, announced Monday, have a “deep understanding of Nvidia’s platform and portfolio, not only from a from a GPU perspective, but they’re very quickly pivoting to understand our broader software story.”

[Related: How Nvidia Is Helping Partners ‘Democratize AI’ For Enterprises]

“They’re realizing when it comes to AI and accelerated computing that it is an industry challenge, and industry challenges are unique and differentiated, and so they’re building capabilities inside their own companies to address those challenges,” he said. “They’re investing in engineering talent to explain the opportunity and then translate that into simple terms so customers can move quickly and get started. But most importantly they’re pivoting the way that they invest in their organization.”

This pivot includes investing in training and enablement for sales teams as well as service delivery capabilities, and all of these investments are “translating into sales,” according to Weinstein.

“What we’re seeing is there’s a direct correlation to the investments and the capabilities of the [partners] that help customers move quickly and the revenue returns and the gross margin returns that they’re seeing,” he said. “And what we’re seeing is that the services opportunity for these partners is starting to really expand because AI is not easy.”

Over the last few years, Nvidia has been moving away from merely providing GPUs to become what CEO Jensen Huang has called a “data center-scale company” that sells optimized AI systems powered by the company’s GPUs and bundled with a growing portfolio of software.

These ambitions have been fueled in part by Nvidia’s $7 billion acquisition of Mellanox Technologies, which has resulted in new products entering the data center market, like Nvidia’s new BlueField data processing units. The company has also ramped up its portfolio of software, which now includes offerings like Nvidia AI Enterprise that can be sold by partners.

“We are a three-part company now,” Weinstein said. “Obviously we are a silicon company, we’re a systems company, and we’re very quickly becoming a very important software company. And we want to make sure that the way we go to market with our partners and the way we recognize our partners aligns to our strategy and our mission.”

Key to that strategy is getting enterprise customers to adopt Nvidia’s AI solutions, which is already playing out in a significant way. In the company’s most recent earnings call, Huang said more than 50 percent of Nvidia’s data center business comes from enterprise customers in vertical industries like health care, financial services and retail.

But Huang has indicated that Nvidia is just getting started in the enterprise as it represents what he called “the next major wave of AI,” which is why the company wants partners to make a big push in vertical industries, Weinstein said.

“We help customers in industry solve their most important problems with AI, and due to that we want to recognize the partners that are helping those customers in those industries, so we’re going to continue to move more and more towards recognizing partners for their contributions to that going forward,” he said.

One of Nvidia’s top partners from last year that has seen a major uptake of AI adoption among enterprise customers is Lambda Labs, a San Francisco-based provider of GPU servers, workstations and laptops for deep learning applications.

Tejas Mehrotra, a senior product manager at Lambda, told CRN that the company saw a pause in spending among Lambda’s enterprise and startup customers when the pandemic started last year. Spending from government and higher education customers, on the other hand, ramped up to handle AI compute needs for COVID-19-related research.

But once those enterprise customers got properly situated with remote working environments around June or July of 2020, spending not only resumed, it started to accelerate to the point where customers were moving beyond training AI models to use inference for applications in the wild.

“Now we are seeing both training and inference products being requested by customers, whereas previously, if you asked me this 12 months back, it was more on the training side,” he said.

Mehrotra said Lambda’s specialty in AI, combined with its ability to deliver affordable systems quickly, has helped it compete against large OEMs and cloud service providers, which resulted in the company recording impressive growth in the enterprise, startup, government and education segments.

“These are very, very sophisticated customers. They are research scientists, research engineers, research professors in the field of machine learning, deep learning, and we are able to speak the same language as them. We’re able to guide them through the process of what products would work best for them and give them the maximum value,” he said.

The following are Nvidia’s 2020 Nvidia Partner Network Partner of the Year award winners in the Americas, with descriptions provided by the company:

World Wide Technology (Leader: Jim Kavanaugh, Headquarters: Maryland Heights, Missouri) — “named NVIDIA AI Solution Provider of the Year for going beyond expectations in their efforts in supporting the sale and adoption of the complete NVIDIA portfolio of AI and accelerated computing solutions, including NVIDIA DGX systems, across a broad range of key industries.”

Deloitte (Leader: Punit Renjen, Headquarters: New York, New York) — “named Global Consulting Partner of the Year for an unmatched commitment to building a leading edge AI practice with AI consulting services.”

Lambda Labs (Leader: Stephen Balaban, Headquarters: San Francisco, California) — “named Solution Integration Partner of the Year as they enable engineers and researchers to make business and scientific breakthroughs using GPU computing.”

Insight (Leader: Ken Lamneck, Headquarters: Tempe, Arizona) — “named NVIDIA Enterprise Software Partner of the Year for the sizable expansion of its virtual GPU business across key Industries and continued execution of highly strategic AI and virtualization initiatives.”

Powerland (Leader: Ashley Penner, Headquarters: Winnipeg, Manitoba) — “named Canada Partner of the Year for driving sales and broad adoption of data center technologies across many key industries, most notably in media and entertainment.”

WWT Public Sector (Leader: Jim Kavanaugh, Headquarters: Maryland Heights, Missouri) — “named Public Sector Partner of the Year for driving AI and accelerated computing within the U.S. federal government through sales enablement, marketing and engineering.”

Cambridge Computer (Leader: Deena Berton, Headquarters: Waltham, Massachusetts) — “named Higher Education Partner of the Year for uncovering, closing, supporting and delivering medium- to large-scale NVIDIA GPU-accelerated servers and DGX solutions to higher education institutions throughout the Americas.”

SFL Scientific (Leader: Michael Segala, Headquarters: Quincy, Massachusetts) — “named Service Delivery Partner of the Year for delivering AI consulting and development services to partners and customers, enabling development of new AI tools and solutions that use GPUs.”

Carahsoft (Leader: Craig Abod, Headquarters: Reston, Virginia) — “named Distribution Partner of the Year for a record year of growth and dedicated marketing efforts supporting public sector customers.”

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