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Google takes on AWS, Azure with first Arm-based CPU

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 10 Apr 2024
Axion processors combine Google’s silicon expertise with Arm’s highest performing CPU cores.
Axion processors combine Google’s silicon expertise with Arm’s highest performing CPU cores.

Internet search giant Google has introduced its first Arm-based central processing unit (CPU) – Google Axion.

With Axion, Google is following in the footsteps of rivals Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, who already have Arm-based CPUs in their offerings.

“At Google, we constantly push the boundaries of computing, exploring what is possible for grand challenges ranging from information retrieval, global video distribution, and of course generative AI,” says Amin Vahdat, VP/GM of machine learning, systems, and cloud AI at Google.

“Doing so requires rethinking systems design in deep collaboration with service developers. This rethinking has resulted in our significant investment in custom silicon. Today, we are thrilled to announce the latest incarnation of this work – Google Axion Processors, our first custom Arm-based CPUs designed for the data centre. Axion delivers industry-leading performance and energy efficiency and will be available to Google Cloud customers later this year.”

According to the company, Axion processors combine Google’s silicon expertise with Arm’s highest performing CPU cores to deliver instances with up to 30% better performance than the fastest general-purpose Arm-based instances available in the cloud today, up to 50% better performance and up to 60% better energy-efficiency than comparable current-generation x86-based instances.

“That’s why we’ve already started deploying Google services like BigTable, Spanner, BigQuery, Blobstore, Pub/Sub, Google Earth Engine, and the YouTube Ads platform on current generation Arm-based servers and plan to deploy and scale these services and more on Axion soon,” Vahdat adds.

He points out that organisations will be able to use Axion in many Google Cloud services including Google Compute Engine, Google Kubernetes Engine, Dataproc, Dataflow and Cloud Batch.

Arm-compatible software and solutions are now available on the Google Cloud Marketplace, and the company recently launched preview support for Arm-based instances migration in the Migrate to Virtual Machines service.

“Google’s announcement of the new Axion CPU marks a significant milestone in delivering custom silicon that is optimised for Google’s infrastructure, and built on our high-performance Arm Neoverse V2 platform,” says Rene Haas, CEO of Arm.

“Decades of ecosystem investment, combined with Google’s ongoing innovation and open source software contributions ensure the best experience for the workloads that matter most to customers running on Arm everywhere.”

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