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EPYC Changes: Google Brings AMD EPYC Hardware to Its Cloud Customers

Google Cloud has announced a partnership with AMD to bring that company’s EPYC processors to its customers. Cloud nerds rejoice! According to Google, “These will be the largest general-purpose VMs we’ve ever offered.” AMD has been on a bit of a tear lately, and the news of performant processors penetrating previously predominantly-Intel environments is welcome from a competition perspective, and will lead to improved services for consumers.

This is important news because cloud providers make money by delivering as similar a service as possible to as many customers as possible. Often, this means sacrificing customizability. Some workloads end up running in non-optimal instances. But Google is committed, it says, to simplifying its offering while maintaining customer choice, and has therefore moved to adopt AMD tech.

The addition of an AMD offering to the Google Cloud expands the menu of available instances, potentially creating an opportunity for users to experience lower costs or greater efficiency.

Google is not the first cloud provider to offer AMD instances. The first generation of EPYC processors is already generally available in AWS, which claims that “EC2 instances featuring AMD EPYC processors deliver a 10% lower cost compute and memory compared to comparable instances.”

For some workloads, (“high volume, high growth-relevant workloads”), AMD claims that its second generation EPYC processor has a performance advantage of a whopping 80-100%.

Source: Google Cloud Platform, Cloud IaaS Platforms, SoftwareReviews, Accessed August 15, 2019

Our Take

This isn’t exactly groundbreaking stuff. But AMD’s success in the datacenter market introduces much-needed competition for indolent incumbent inventor Intel, and should generally lead to improvement in the quality of the cloud offerings provided. And for some workloads (Amazon suggests those that do not use the VM’s full CPU capacity) AMD processors may be ideal. The ability to better align workloads with cloud resources is always welcome.


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