As part of an ongoing effort to differentiate its public cloud services, Google made good this week on its intention to bring custom Xeon Skylake chips from Intel Corp. to its Google Compute Engine. The cloud provider is the first to offer the next-gen Xeons, and is getting access ahead of traditional server-makers like Dell and HPE.
Google announced plans to incorporate the next-generation Intel server chips into its public could last November. On Friday (Feb. 24), Urs Hölzle, Google’s senior vice president for cloud infrastructure, said the Skylake upgrade would deliver a significant performance boost for demanding applications and workloads ranging from genomic research to machine learning.
The cloud vendor noted that Skylake includes Intel Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX-512) that target workloads such as data analytics, engineering simulations and scientific modeling. When compared to previous generations, the Skylake extensions are touted as doubling floating-point performance “for the heaviest calculations,” Hölzle noted in a blog post.
Internal testing showed improved application performance by as much as 30 percent compared to earlier generations of the Xeon-based chip. The addition of Skylake chips also gives the cloud vendor a temporary performance advantage over its main cloud rivals, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, as well as server makers. (Intel also collaborates with AWS.)
Google and Intel launched a cloud alliance last fall designed to boost enterprise cloud adoption. At the time, company executives noted that the processor’s AVX-512 extensions could help optimize enterprise and HPC workloads.
“Google and Intel have had a long standing engineering partnership working on datacenter innovation,” Diane Bryant, general manager of Intel’s datacenter group, added in a statement.
“This technology delivers significant enhancements for compute-intensive workloads” such as data analytics.
Hölzle added that Skylake was tweaked for Google Compute Engine’s family of virtual machines, ranging from standard through “custom machine types” to boost the performance of compute instances for enterprise workloads.
Google said Skylake processors are available in five public cloud regions, including those across the United States, Western Europe and the eastern Asian Pacific.
A version of this article also appears on EnterpriseTech.