Intel and Lightbits Labs enter into a Strategic Collaboration

Above: Avigdor Willenz, founder of Lightbits Labs, Habana Labs, Annapurna and Galileo Technologies

Intel Corp. and Lightbits Labs from Kfar-saba, Israel, will co-develop new storage solutions for the data center. Intel announced an agreement for a strategic partnership includes technical co-engineering, marketing collaboration and an investment of Intel Capital in Lightbits Labs.  “The data center is being transformed,” said Remi EL-Ouazzane, Intel’s Data Platforms Group chief business development officer. “Our hardware capabilities coupled with Lightbits NVMe over Fabrics software gives our joint customers an exceptional economic solution.”

Lightbits NVMe/TCP protocol separates storage and compute without touching the network infrastructure or data center clients, and thus enables to reduce the latency of direct-attached NVMe SSDs by up to a 50%. Its LightOS provides a software-defines management of the entire distributed database. According to the agreement, Lightbits Labs will enhance LightOS for Intel’s technologies, to create an optimized software and hardware solution. The system will utilize Intel hardware solutions such as Optane memory, 3D NAND SSDs based on Intel QLC Technology, Xeon processors, Intel Ethernet Network Adapters and its FPGAs.

In addition to the technical collaboration, Lightbits and Intel are collaborating to provide complete solutions. They already started: Lightbits Labs demonstrated LightOS NVMe over Fabrics TCP (NVMe-oF/TCP) storage with remote direct memory access (RDMA)-class performance, when accelerated with the Intel Ethernet 800 Series Network Adapter with ADQ technology. It reported the results: up to 30% improvement in response time, up to 50% reduction in average latency and up to 70% throughput increase.

Founded in 2017, Lightbits Labs worked until mid 2019 in a stealth mode. Only in April 2019 and after raising $50 millions, it exposed it first product. The company was founded by the chairman Avigdor Willenz, the CEO Eran Kirzner and the CTO Sagi Grimberg. Avigdor Willenz is a serial entrepreneur. He is also currently the Co-founder and chairman of Habana Labs, which develops solutions for artificial intelligence and deep-learning computing and was sold to Intel in 2019 for $2 billion. Earlier in his career, he had co-founded Annapurna Labs (sold to Amazon for $370 million).

His first semiconductor’s exit was the selling of his startup Galileo Technologies Marvell in 2001 for $2.7 billion. Eran Kirzner came from PMC-Sierra where he served as VP for Software & Solutions in the Enterprise Storage Division. Sagi Grimberg came from Mellanox Technologies (now owned by NVIDIA). In his last position there he served as the Storage Software manager of Mellanox.