Once arch-rivals in the technology world, Microsoft and Oracle are now in discussions over a potential deal that could reshape the landscape of artificial intelligence (AI) cloud services. The Information recently reported that the two tech giants are considering renting servers from each other in the event of capacity shortages for large-scale AI cloud customers.
This proposed deal is aimed at tackling the challenge of server shortages, especially those harnessing high-end Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) needed to run complex AI computations. However, a final decision on the matter is yet to be made.
While it may seem surprising, this isn’t the first instance of collaboration between Microsoft and Oracle. In 2019, the companies announced a partnership allowing customers to run computing jobs across both clouds. This involved building direct connection fiber links between the data centers of both companies, an infrastructure that could now facilitate the sharing of GPU server capacity.
Microsoft’s AI server rationing for its internal teams, reported by The Information earlier, highlighted the importance of ensuring customers have adequate access to computing power. OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT and Dall-E, is one such customer that relies heavily on Microsoft’s servers. Microsoft has invested billions in OpenAI, gaining an exclusive license to offer its services over the Azure cloud.
Further to the server-sharing discussions, Oracle has also expressed interest in reselling OpenAI’s software to its customers. This mirrors their existing agreement where Oracle resells Microsoft’s 365 productivity suite.
It’s a notable shift in the relationship between the two tech behemoths, which have been involved in a series of legal battles over the years. These disputes often centered on copyright infringement allegations, with Oracle accusing Microsoft of illegally copying its software code. Despite the litigious past, the potential for mutual benefit seems to be driving a newfound spirit of cooperation.
The agreement, if it comes to pass, represents a significant move towards collaborative solutions in the tech industry to meet the growing demand for AI services. It also underscores the transformative impact AI is having on data center infrastructure, as companies grapple with the need for high-capacity, high-performance servers.
As the world becomes increasingly reliant on AI and cloud services, strategic partnerships like this could become the norm, even among former adversaries. The collaboration between Microsoft and Oracle serves as a testament to the significance of AI in shaping the future of technology and highlights the need for industry giants to pool resources and expertise to drive innovation.