Iliad’s Scaleway cloud AI unit expands to 52 countries

Source: Iliad

Source: Iliad

  • Scaleway is the Iliad group’s cloud services provider
  • It has expanded its virtual private cloud server footprint from just three to 52 countries worldwide
  • It has also been investing heavily in Nvidia GPUs

We already know how ambitious Xavier Niel’s Iliad Group is when it comes to European mobile and fixed broadband services growth and expansion, but the company has also been developing an edge cloud services proposition for enterprise users and has now expanded that offering from just three countries previously to 52 markets worldwide. 

Iliad’s cloud services subsidiary is called Scaleway, which offers its Dedibox VPS (virtual private server) service to corporate users. “Dedibox VPS gives companies full flexibility to deploy virtual infrastructure wherever their users are. It is ideal for services and applications that require geographic proximity, such as VPNs, CDNs [content delivery networks] and edge computing,” noted Iliad in an announcement ahead of this week’s Vivatech event in Paris (22-25 May). 

“Rolling out our Dedibox VPS offering on a global scale is a real milestone for Scaleway, as it means we can now partner with our European customers in their international expansion,” noted Scaleway CEO Damien Lucas.  

Source: Iliad

Source: Iliad

The international expansion from a few markets in Europe to having facilities in every major continent (see the map above) is a clear sign of Niel’s strategy to position Iliad as a European AI champion and coincides with Scaleway’s investment in AI hardware from Nvidia. 

In September last year, Iliad invested in an Nvidia DGX SuperPOD, an AI datacentre infrastructure platform that is equipped with the vendor’s DGX H100 system, a fully integrated hardware and software solution that Nvidia dubs “the AI powerhouse.” Iliad noted at the time that this gave it “Europe’s most powerful cloud-native AI supercomputer”, noting that the system provides the computing power required to train large language models (LLMs) “up to four times faster” than computers using earlier versions of graphics processing units (GPUs). The system has been installed in the group’s Datacenter 5 facility in Paris. “We’re entering AI in the same way as we entered telecoms, with the same pioneering mindset,” stated Thomas Reynaud, CEO of Iliad, at the time.

Since then, Scaleway has been “increasing the AI computing power available to its customers by regularly investing in many Nvidia GPUs,” and it has now adopted the vendor’s latest networking technology, Spectrum-X, as part of its latest acquisition of more than 1,000 additional H100 GPUs.

As a result of this investment and Scaleway’s partnerships with Nvidia and server vendor Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Scaleway is now launching GPU Cluster On Demand, which enables its customers to “reserve the size of computing clusters they want, from a few GPUs to several thousand, for as long as they want – from a few days to several years – for all AI use cases,” according to Iliad. (That sounds like it might be quite costly…) 

Scaleway has already struck a deal to provide a cluster to a French startup called H, which was founded by former DeepMind (Google) executives and “aims to develop foundational action models, and multi-agent models, whereby numerous AI systems interact with one another, leading to new close-to-AGI [artificial general intelligence] capabilities.”

Scaleway CEO Lucas noted: “Having already enabled European leaders like Mistral and Kyutai to train their state-of-the-art models on the continent’s most powerful cloud AI cluster, we’re excited to empower the foundational work of “H”, the sector’s next startup to watch.

Iliad isn’t the only telco seeking to meet the AI needs of European enterprises, with Orange Business, Telenor and Swisscom among those also seeking to capitalise on the seemingly insatiable demand for cloud platforms capable of processing AI workloads. 

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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