Amazon’s cloud computing department has developed a second-generation processor for its data centers. The company currently runs technology on its first-generation chip provided by ARM Holdings. The current first-generation chip, called Graviton, is likely to be superseded by the second-generation chip, which promises up to a 20% increase in processing efficiency.
Seeking Its Independence
Amazon’s foray into chip manufacture sees the company trying to forge its own identity as a server processor manufacturer. The hope is that if Amazon succeeds in producing this chip, it increases the business’s independence from chip manufacturers Intel and AMD. Both of these companies hold significant portions of the market in chip manufacture for data centers. Intel manufactures chips for 90% of the cloud server operators while AMD creates chips for the other 10%.
Partnering to Break a Controlling Interest
ARM currently makes chips that mobile phone manufacturers use in handsets around the globe. Graviton didn’t make many waves in terms of impacting the server market, but Amazon hopes that the second-generation chip they currently have under design will change that. If anything, the Amazon-ARM chip will open the market for cloud computing up to smaller suppliers. The chip under development isn’t expected to be as powerful as either AMD’s or Intel’s current offering. What the processor does have going for it, however, is low energy consumption and lower overall cost to the purchaser.
A Change in Paradigm?
The new chip will double the cores that Graviton currently has, upping the core count from sixteen to thirty-two. Additionally, it will be using technology hat ARM terms ‘fabric,’ which will allow the chip to distribute processing among other processors on the board if the need arises. On the downside, cloud companies that want to use the second-generation chip will need to rely on software written explicitly for ARM’s instruction set, which is in the minority at present.