Is Hardware Abstraction the New Silicon Vendor Lock-in?

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1Q 2022 | IN-6474


Hardware Abstraction is Essential to Lower the Barrier to Entry for New Technology


Silicon hardware vendors have been acutely aware that the more specialized the hardware is, the higher the barrier to entry is for potential customers. To maximize the performance gain from adopting specialized hardware, the enterprise has traditionally needed to engage with that hardware at a lower level. The most well-known example of this is when NVIDIA Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) were first touted for use as accelerators for purposes other than graphics. The benefits could be clearly demonstrated on paper and in the lab or the Proof of Concept (POC) study, but general adoption of the technology did not start to take off until the CUDA Toolkit became available. CUDA is NVIDIA’s Application Programming Interface (API) that allows programmers to program specifically for the NVIDIA GPU. With CUDA, NVIDIA effectively lowered the barrier to entry for this technology. Developers were able to exploit the new functionality it unlocked to gain a competitive edge, and they could do so without interacting with the hardware directly. …

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