Wednesday, December 5, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Custom ARM Processor for Amazon Web Services

Tom Krazit:

After years of waiting for someone to design an Arm server processor that could work at scale on the cloud, Amazon Web Services just went ahead and designed its own.

Vice president of infrastructure Peter DeSantis introduced the AWS Graviton Processor Monday night, adding a third chip option for cloud customers alongside instances that use processors from Intel and AMD. The company did not provide a lot of details about the processor itself, but DeSantis said that it was designed for scale-out workloads that benefit from a lot of servers chipping away at a problem.

The new instances will be known as EC2 A1, and they can run applications written for Amazon Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Ubuntu.

Chris Williams:

Up until 2015, Amazon and AMD were working together on a 64-bit Arm server-grade processor to deploy in the internet titan’s data centers. However, the project fell apart when, according to one well-placed source today, “AMD failed at meeting all the performance milestones Amazon set out.”

In the end, Amazon went out and bought Arm licensee and system-on-chip designer Annapurna Labs, putting the acquired team to work designing Internet-of-Things gateways and its Nitro chipset, which handles networking and storage tasks for Amazon servers hosting EC2 virtual machines.

Update (2018-12-11): See also: Hacker News.

1 Comment

AMD made a big deal out of ARM designs. Here's my question, are they having luck in this business venture? I see a lot more articles like this than "AMD success in ARM" but that doesn't mean I follow things closely enough to know the truth.

For example, this article seems to paint a dire picture of AMD's ARM efforts:
https://www.pcworld.com/article/3106852/amd-turns-back-to-x86-for-server-reboot-as-it-downgrades-arm.html

It's interesting to me both big x86 vendors have made bets on ARM only to see it fail. Intel with Xscale and AMD with ARM in servers.

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