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back to article Fresh evidence Amazon is ARMing its huge cloud against Intel et al

In early April, Amazon Web Services' chief technology officer Werner Vogels told The Reg that “there is absolutely room for ARM in the data centre” because “power management for ARM is considered state of the art” and AWS is “always looking for efficiency”. It now transpires that AWS is also looking for a “CPU architect / micro- …

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Cost?

I'd say "cost". The ARM systems will use less power, generate less heat, and so cost less to run per work unit. They may cost less to build as well. Amazon could offer a slightly lower price for instances where one lets it be placed on any CPU, and higher rate if you insist on a particular CPU type.

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ARM on AWS

If Amazon are rolling their own servers, they'll likely be testing it out on their own operations first before punting it to the public. As an AWS user, I'd be happy to run my code on ARM.

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ARM

It makes sense for the big cloud players to start working on real 64 bit ARM options. The vast majority of AWS Linux micro instances could be capably serviced by a modern ARM CPU at greater densities than Intel can deliver.

HP have already shown off the density possibilities via Moonshot (albeit as "enterprise" grade ARM kit, with a lot of unnecessary guff wrapped around it and only on 32bit). Give someone who builds their own hardware and platform by cutting unnecessary components (i.e. Amazon, google, facebook) and I bet they could cram a LOT of very usable low end compute into a very DC cost effective footprint.

Red Hat have shown off RHEL running on ARM64 now, so ARM servers are certainly coming. I don't expect them to replace x86 an AWS or anywhere else any time soon for many users, but it'd be a great start to diversifying the platform. Good luck to them - them working on diversifying one of the few areas (x86 based servers) in which there is currently no real alternative to the industry standard can only benefit us all in the long term.

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Re: ARM

Watching number and quality of Linux kvm commits, there seems to be strong momentum for good virtualisation support on ARM. It seems like ARM is doing its best to become CPU vendor for the datacentre and cloud, and it seems to have the right partners for this, too. Competition is a good thing.

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Re: ARM

Surely the point of ARM is to avoid virtualisation - you make the chips cheap enough to ditch the complexity of virtualisation. There are a lot of people who want "always on; in the cloud" services but who need very little CPU. CDNs are a prime example. Also, (at least with vmware player) virtualisation turns idle CPUs into non-idle CPUs which are less power efficient. Perhaps the octo-core architecture is interesting, where processes are put on ultra-low-power cores when doing very little and migrated to faster cores on demand. Lower latency without having to load servers up so high you have to swap to disk could be a selling point.

With companies like Amazon and Google, just having a stick to beat Intel margins down with is probably reason enough to engage in such a project.

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Don't write Intel off!

Intel has two advantages. Its process technology is second to none. And it is the platform of choice for proprietary binary-only applications.

Intel was in grave danger when Netburst (P4 architecture) failed and AMD (briefly) gained the whip hand, but they've long since spotted the danger presented to their business by inefficient electricity usage, and are well down the road to remedying it.

The mot efficient ARM CPU would be the one fabbed by Intel ... but until someone else can make serious inroads to the server-room under the handicap of a less advanced process technology, the world is unlikely to see that CPU. I'd be surprised if it didn't already exist in a secret R&D lab somewhere inside Intel ... plan B stuff ... unless they've forgotten that "only the paranoid survive".

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Maybe I'm missing something, but other than the headline where did it mention ARM? The Basic Qualifications section of the role lists "In-depth experience in optimizing workloads for high-performance x86 architecture" with no mention of ARM anywhere.

Intel are also working with integrated or custom dies as well and while it's a rather different licensing model to ARM's the basic principle is similar.

Headline writers... grrr... it's like they're attempting to catch our attention or something :)

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ARM Good Stuff but what about the Patents

Whilst ARM is excellent technology, there appears to be some patent issues looming.

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Re: ARM Good Stuff but what about the Patents

If you think for a second that Intel has the patent portfolio to take on the entire IT industry, you're mad. Intel versus ARM is Intel versus everyone. Do you honestly think their last act would be to SCO their own customers?

If they did, they could kiss becoming a high-end fab company goodbye.

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