Amazon Web Services Launches Its Own ARM-Based, Custom Server Processor

Amazon Web Services Launches Its Own ARM-Based, Custom Server Processor

Amazon at the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas on Monday announced its custom-made, ARM server processor that it calls the AWS Graviton Processor. The new processor will power Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing service EC2. It comes with 64-bit ARM Neoverse cores and has support for an enhanced networking experience with up to 10Gbps of network bandwidth. Amazon claims that the proprietary silicon is highly “optimised for performance and cost”. It takes on the existing server chips and comes as an alternative against the enterprise-focused processors offered by AMD and Intel.

While Amazon didn’t reveal any major details about the AWS Graviton Processor, it did specify that the new silicon will power EC2 instances. The first set of instances called A1 is available in the US and Europe regions. It works with all the standard instance pricing models by AWS, including on-demand, reserved instance, spot instance, dedicated instance, and dedicated host. Enterprises can leverage the new processing capabilities on applications written for Amazon Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), and Ubuntu.

“Built around ARM cores and making extensive use of custom-built silicon, the A1 instances are optimised for performance and cost,” says Jeff Barr, Chief Evangelist for AWS, in a blog post. “They are great fit for scale-out workloads where you can share the load across a group of smaller instances. This includes containerised microservices, web servers, development environments, and caching fleets.”

Amazon’s AWS Graviton Processor comes from the house of Annapurna Labs that the US giant acquired in 2015. It is essentially designed for “cost-sensitive, scale-out workloads”. The new processor is also set to support computing experiences in domains such as machine learning. Being based on ARM cores, the processor can be used to run virtually any application that is based on a scripting language.

Earlier this month, AWS tied up with AMD to launch its new EC2 instances based on AMD Epyc 7000 series processors. The company is taking on Google Cloud and Microsoft’s Azure.

Microsoft notably last year announced ARM support for its Windows Server platform. However, the Redmond giant yet to bring ARM-based servers to its Azure public cloud.

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