H2O.ai Announces Fully-Managed AI Cloud
Around ten months ago, AI firm H2O.ai launched its AI Hybrid Cloud, allowing users to manage an AI platform on-prem and/or in the cloud. Now, the company is launching a fully-managed cloud – simply called “H2O AI Cloud” – that promises to “[help] data scientists and app developers to rapidly build AI models and apps while providing the infrastructure to easily productionalize end-to-end solutions.”
The AI Hybrid Cloud – previously itself called the H2O AI Cloud – unified H2O.ai’s AI products on a single platform, furthering its stated goal of democratizing AI through easy access to prebuilt AI applications. But this new product, the company explained, has a series of key differences.
“With the H2O AI Hybrid Cloud, customers provision, manage, and update the platform themselves according to their internal IT best practices,” explained Michelle Tranco, a product manager at H2O.ai, in a blog post announcing the new managed cloud. “This gives fine grain control but also requires expertise in Kubernetes, security, and [cloud/on-prem] provisioning.”
“The fully managed solution of the H2O AI Cloud has all the same features to make, operate, and innovate with your own AI,” she continued. “What’s new is that the operations of the platform, including infrastructure and software management, are completely handled by H2O.ai allowing the customer to focus on solving their business problems with AI.”
This core functionality is enabled by a host of new features. Each AI Cloud customer is hosted in a dedicated cloud environment, with all operations activities – installation, upgrades, and so forth – handled by H2O.ai. The company also monitors resources consumption and issues automatic alerts for unexpectedly high usage; insulates public-facing resources with DDoS protection and firewalls; allows IP-based security controls for resource access; and provides H2O.ai-developed data science apps for immediate use.
H2O.ai announced the managed cloud less than a month after it announced the results of a Series E funding round that raised $100 million. That round, led by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (one of H2O.ai’s customers), brought the company’s total funding to $250 million and its valuation to $1.7 billion and marked a closer collaboration between H2O.ai and the Australian bank. H2O.ai also recently announced a new AI challenge aimed at combating wildfires — the most recent entry in the company’s AI 4 Good initiatives — and teamed up with AT&T to launch a new feature store.