Gravitons, Neoverse... you'd be forgiven for thinking AWS's second-gen 64-core Arm server processor was a sci-fi

Amazon cloud teases Graviton2 tech

re:Invent In conjunction with its re:Invent show in Las Vegas this week, Amazon Web Services offered a preview of the next iteration of its Arm-compatible EC2 instances, which will use its customized Graviton2 processors.

The first generation of Arm-based EC2 servers, dubbed A1, used AWS's Graviton1 processor line, which debuted a year ago. Based on 16 64-bit Arm Cortex-A72 cores clocked at 2.3GHz, they were designed to provide cost savings over x86-based microprocessors for specific applications like web servers, microservices, data and log processing, and other workloads suited to small cores and limited memory requirements.

They're available with a variety of Linux and Unix distributions, and different container services.

Instances based on Graviton2 processors, built with a 7nm process, and sporting 64-bit Arm Neoverse N1 CPU cores, promise significantly improved performance. Each core has 1MB of level 2 cache, and each chip has 32MB of shared level 3 cache.

"It is based on 64-bit Arm Neoverse cores, and can deliver up to 7x the performance of the A1 instances, including twice the floating point performance," said Jeff Barr, AWS chief evangelist, in a blog post. "Additional memory channels and double-sized per-core caches speed memory access by up to 5x."

AWS conducted its own benchmark testing and compared to its 5th generation EC2 instances (M5, C5, R5), its Graviton2 virtual CPUs showed meaningful improvements:

  • SPECjvm 2008: +43 per cent (estimated)
  • SPEC CPU 2017 integer: +44 per cent (estimated)
  • SPEC CPU 2017 floating point: +24 per cent (estimated)
  • HTTPS load balancing with Nginx: +24 per cent
  • Memcached: +43 per cent performance, at lower latency
  • X.264 video encoding: +26 per cent
  • EDA simulation with Cadence Xcellium: +54 per cent

According to Barr, these results have convinced AWS to use Graviton2 instances for its EMR, Elastic Load Balancing, and ElastiCache services, among others.

Amazon Web Services

AWS re:Invent re:turns with re:vised robo-car and Windows Server 2008 re:vitalization plan


Chris Bergey, SVP and GM of infrastructure at Arm, chimed in with: “The new M6g Graviton2-based instances deliver up to 40 per cent better price performance over the Intel Xeon-based 5th generation instances, meaning these instances provide the high-performance required for demanding, compute-heavy and memory-intensive workloads.”

AWS plans to offer three Graviton2-based EC2 instance lines, dubbed M6, C6, and R6. The general purpose M6g and M6gd will be available with 1-64 vCPUs and up to 256 GiB of memory. The compute-optimized C6g and C6gd comes with 1-64 vCPUs and up to 128 GiB of memory. And the memory-optimized R6g and R6gd can be had with 1-64 vCPUs and up to 512 GiB of memory.

The "d" designation means NVMe local storage; these instances feature up to 25 Gbps in network bandwidth and 18 Gbps of EBS-optimized bandwidth (Elastic Block Store).

AWS is now testing M6g for non-production workloads; Barr says AWS will have more to say about Graviton2 instance availability in 2020. ®

Speaking of server processors... A startup called Nuvia came out of stealth in November with $53m in funding and a bunch of people with experience designing chips for Apple, Arm, Google, AMD, and others. Their plan is to "deliver industry-leading performance and energy efficiency for the data center" with, presumably, Arm-compatible, server CPUs.

Other stories you might like

  • Despite global uncertainty, $500m hit doesn't rattle Nvidia execs
    CEO acknowledges impact of war, pandemic but says fundamentals ‘are really good’

    Nvidia is expecting a $500 million hit to its global datacenter and consumer business in the second quarter due to COVID lockdowns in China and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Despite those and other macroeconomic concerns, executives are still optimistic about future prospects.

    "The full impact and duration of the war in Ukraine and COVID lockdowns in China is difficult to predict. However, the impact of our technology and our market opportunities remain unchanged," said Jensen Huang, Nvidia's CEO and co-founder, during the company's first-quarter earnings call.

    Those two statements might sound a little contradictory, including to some investors, particularly following the stock selloff yesterday after concerns over Russia and China prompted Nvidia to issue lower-than-expected guidance for second-quarter revenue.

    Continue reading
  • Another AI supercomputer from HPE: Champollion lands in France
    That's the second in a week following similar system in Munich also aimed at researchers

    HPE is lifting the lid on a new AI supercomputer – the second this week – aimed at building and training larger machine learning models to underpin research.

    Based at HPE's Center of Excellence in Grenoble, France, the new supercomputer is to be named Champollion after the French scholar who made advances in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs in the 19th century. It was built in partnership with Nvidia using AMD-based Apollo computer nodes fitted with Nvidia's A100 GPUs.

    Champollion brings together HPC and purpose-built AI technologies to train machine learning models at scale and unlock results faster, HPE said. HPE already provides HPC and AI resources from its Grenoble facilities for customers, and the broader research community to access, and said it plans to provide access to Champollion for scientists and engineers globally to accelerate testing of their AI models and research.

    Continue reading
  • Workday nearly doubles losses as waves of deals pushed back
    Figures disappoint analysts as SaaSy HR and finance application vendor navigates economic uncertainty

    HR and finance application vendor Workday's CEO, Aneel Bhusri, confirmed deal wins expected for the three-month period ending April 30 were being pushed back until later in 2022.

    The SaaS company boss was speaking as Workday recorded an operating loss of $72.8 million in its first quarter [PDF] of fiscal '23, nearly double the $38.3 million loss recorded for the same period a year earlier. Workday also saw revenue increase to $1.43 billion in the period, up 22 percent year-on-year.

    However, the company increased its revenue guidance for the full financial year. It said revenues would be between $5.537 billion and $5.557 billion, an increase of 22 percent on earlier estimates.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022