VMware Acquires Stanford AI/ML Startup

VMware just announced its pending acquisition of Uhana, a provider of deep learning and real-time AI technologies for carrier networks and applications originally developed at Stanford University.

Uhana's core offering is a highly-scalable, low-latency, real-time stream processing and AI platform, deployable in the operator's private cloud or public cloud infrastructure. VMware is adding Uhana's technology to its Telco and Edge Cloud portfolio, the company said, to address two major shifts in the communication services provider (CSP) market: The transition to a programmable and virtualized 4G/5G network; and the rise of low latency applications, such as cloud gaming, VR/AR and IoT. Both developments are "placing stressful demands on the network," the company said in a statement.

"To deliver a consistent and great user experience with competitive economics," the company explained, "network service providers need to automate network operations and directly optimize applications to solve this problem urgently. The answer is an AI-driven, scalable network and application experience management system."

Uhana's stream processing engine is designed to ingest subscriber-level network telemetry from a variety of data sources, including the radio access network, the core network, and even the over-the-top (OTT) application directly. It then processes that telemetry to provide real-time, per-subscriber visibility. It also includes an AI engine that discovers and predicts anomalies in the network (and/or application), prioritizes those discoveries by their estimated impact, infers their likely root causes, and automatically recommends optimization strategies for the best subscriber experience.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Uhana was founded in 2016 to commercialize Stanford research on optimizing networks and applications using machine learning and AI. The company was founded by Sachin Katti, a Stanford associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and Manu Bansal, an engineer who conducted his doctoral research in Katti's group.

The acquisition of Uhana demonstrates VMware's "commitment to serving the telecom industry and deepening intelligence in the journey to 5G," the company said. Once acquired, Uhana's tech "will also be poised to empower intelligence and analytics for VMware Smart Assurance and VMware Smart Experience products," the company added.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at