Google Cloud uses ARM-based chips

Bad news for Intel, AMD? Google Cloud unit has started offering virtual machines (VMs) based on chip designs from British ARM Holdings

Alphabet’s Google Cloud has announced its first ARM-based VMs (virtual machine) using chips from the American server chip company Ampere Computing.

Google Cloud in one blog post revealed that some customers are looking for ARM-designed options to deliver excellent performance-per-watt efficiency.

“At Google Cloud, we’re also excited about using ARM chips for next-generation scale-out, cloud-native workloads,” wrote product managers Subra Chandramouli and Jamie Kinney.

ARM Google Cloud

The two executives pointed out that Google Cloud had added Tau VMs to Compute Engine by 2021.

“Today we are excited to announce the preview release of our first VM family based on the Arm architecture, Tau T2A,” they wrote. “Powered by Ampere Altra ARM-based processors, T2A VMs deliver exceptional single-threaded performance at an attractive price.”

Ampere Computing has been a key partner to Google Cloud and delivered this VM.

“Tau T2A VMs come in multiple predefined VM shapes, with up to 48 vCPUs per VM and 4 GB of memory per vCPU,” they wrote. “They offer up to 32 Gbps network bandwidth and a wide range of network-attached storage options, making Tau T2A VMs suitable for scale-out workloads, including web servers, containerized microservices, data logging processing, media transcoding, and Java applications.”

This means that Google Cloud customers and developers now have the option to choose an ARM-based Google Cloud VM to test, develop and run their workloads on the optimal architecture for their workload.

Both AWS and Azure already offer ARM-based VMs.

“Ampere Altra Cloud Native Processors are designed from the ground up to meet the demands of modern cloud applications,” said Jeff Wittich, chief product officer at Ampere Computing.

“Our close partnership with Google Cloud has resulted in the launch of the new price-performance optimized Tau T2A instances, which enable the rapid and efficient deployment of demanding scale-out applications.”

In addition to the ARM-based VMs being added as part of Google Cloud Compute Engine, Google now supports them as part of its Google Kubernetes Engine.

“Starting today, GKE customers can run their containerized workloads using the ARM architecture on T2A,” the two Google Cloud executives wrote. “ARM nodes are packed with key GKE features, including the ability to run in GKE Autopilot mode for a hands-off experience.”

AMD, Intel competition

The ARM move by Google Cloud will be closely monitored at Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), after ARM began offering technology in 2018 for chips used in data centers – traditional AMD and Intel strongholds.

In December 2020, it was reported that Microsoft was designing its own ARM-based processors for use in its Azure servers.

A year later, Samsung also reportedly prepared a low-power ARM-based server chip.

Now, ARM’s technology is used in data centers around the world, including AWS, Azure, and Oracle, to name a few.

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