The Role of AMD in Google Cloud’s Next-Gen Offerings

The Role of AMD in Google Cloud's Next-Gen Offerings

The News: During a session at Google Cloud Next, AMD’s Cloud Group discussed potential advantages for infrastructure and cloud architects in utilizing the C3D Machine Type introduced last October. Representing a potential enhancement of organizations’ efficient use of Google Compute Engine (GCE) without sacrificing performance or manageability, C3D utilizes AMD EPYC 9004 Series “Genoa” CPUs to redefine cost, density, and capacity possibilities in their cloud landscapes. See AMD’s Google Cloud site for details and to access technical information on C3D.

The Role of AMD in Google Cloud’s Next-Gen Offerings

Analyst Take: The public cloud market is undergoing a significant transformation in its silicon landscape, characterized by a broader diversity of processor options for cloud instances. This diversification reflects the industry’s response to varied and expanding requirements for performance, security, and cost-efficiency in cloud computing environments. Increasingly, hyper-scale cloud providers are partnering with multiple semiconductor manufacturers to offer a range of CPUs that cater to different technical and budgetary needs. This strategy not only enhances the flexibility and customization for cloud services but also stimulates competitive innovation across the silicon industry. As organizations increasingly rely on robust and versatile cloud infrastructures, the ability to choose from a variety of silicon options becomes crucial. This move toward a more varied processor offering in the public cloud market aligns with the growing complexity and scale of applications and data, ensuring optimal alignment with diverse client demands.

A highly performant general-purpose Machine Type, C3D can support a variety of run-the-business applications, including transactional SQL databases, in-memory databases, web applications, enterprise applications, and streaming media. The fundamental premise of C3D Machine Type described by AMD at Google Cloud Next is to reduce the total number of instances required for hosting applications without sacrificing processing capabilities. By rate card, each C3D instance is pricier than previous-generation AMD and non-AMD instances, but the overall expenditure is projected to be lower due to the reduced quantity of instances needed.

AMD refers to this as “modernizing” the IaaS landscape: moving from a second-generation Machine Type to third-generation C3D, aiming toward operational cost savings, increased density, greater capacity for growing applications and data stores, higher performance, or any combination of these. Each C3D instance can support up to 360 vCPUs.

It’s also worth noting that AMD-based Machine Types support Confidential Computing on both GCE and GKE (Google Kubernetes Engine). This functionality is activated through a straightforward “checkbox” configuration option. AMD claims that, because this security functionality is hosted in the silicon, performance impacts are minimal.

For Google Cloud Customers and Hosted Application Users

AMD claims significant cost reductions from moving to C3D, and has the benchmarking and calculations to support it, estimating that Google Cloud customers could see a 31% decrease in expenses for the applications mentioned above when migrating them from Intel-based N2 instances. This transition, facilitated by x86 compatibility, will likely require minimal adjustments for the operators and application managers, and little change in the user experience—and could result in improved operations and user experiences thanks to increased performance and density. Additionally, easy deployment of Confidential Computing helps bolster the protection of hosted data and systems against cyber threats.

For Google Cloud Partners and the Market

Managed service providers (MSPs) can find real opportunities to reduce delivery costs on shared Google Cloud infrastructure. This cost-saving measure is expected to be achieved without notable impacts on either operational expenditures or customer satisfaction levels, suggesting MSPs operating within the Google Cloud ecosystem should take a good hard look at C3D.

This kind of development, led by AMD and Google Cloud, plays a role in managing the energy and carbon footprint associated with hosting applications on global scales. As application and data landscapes continue to expand in complexity and size, enhancements in processing density like those offered by C3D contribute positively to sustainability efforts.

Looking Ahead

The strategic collaboration between AMD and Google Cloud, exemplified by the launch of the C3D Machine Type, signals a deepening commitment to innovation and enhanced service delivery within the public cloud sector. The introduction of Axion, a joint initiative by AMD and Google, further underscores this trend. Axion represents a formidable challenge to competitive offerings such as AWS’s Graviton, providing an advanced alternative to the IaaS combination of AMD’s powerful silicon with Google’s expansive cloud infrastructure. This move is strategic, positioning Google Cloud to capture a larger share of the market by appealing to customers looking for high-performance computing options that are also cost-efficient.

Axion’s launch reflects a broader industry shift toward versatile and scalable cloud solutions. By leveraging AMD’s cutting-edge technology as well, Google not only broadens its processor ecosystem but also enhances its ability to offer tailored solutions that meet the diverse needs of modern enterprises. This is critical as businesses increasingly demand more from their cloud providers in terms of both performance and economic value. Axion’s enablement of micro-services and 12-factor applications complements the ability of Machine Types like C3D to support demanding applications such as large-scale databases, complex enterprise solutions, and extensive data analytics processes without compromising on efficiency or security is a significant advantage.

Moreover, the competition in the silicon space is encouraging cloud providers to continuously improve their offerings. As Google Cloud expands its portfolio with high-caliber solutions like C3D and Axion, it not only strengthens its position in the market but also prompts other players to accelerate their innovations. This dynamic is crucial for the ongoing evolution of cloud technologies, where enhanced performance, reduced costs, and robust security remain paramount. The impact of such innovations extends beyond immediate operational benefits, contributing to broader objectives like sustainability and data sovereignty, which are increasingly influential in clients’ decision-making processes regarding cloud adoption.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Other Insights from The Futurum Group:

AWS re:Invent: AWS Unveils Next-Generation Graviton, Trainium Chips

Google Cloud Launches Axion and Enhances AI Hypercomputer

AMD Q4 2023 Earnings Highlight a Strong Finish

Author Information

Regarded as a luminary at the intersection of technology and business transformation, Steven Dickens is the Vice President and Practice Leader for Hybrid Cloud, Infrastructure, and Operations at The Futurum Group. With a distinguished track record as a Forbes contributor and a ranking among the Top 10 Analysts by ARInsights, Steven's unique vantage point enables him to chart the nexus between emergent technologies and disruptive innovation, offering unparalleled insights for global enterprises.

Steven's expertise spans a broad spectrum of technologies that drive modern enterprises. Notable among these are open source, hybrid cloud, mission-critical infrastructure, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and FinTech innovation. His work is foundational in aligning the strategic imperatives of C-suite executives with the practical needs of end users and technology practitioners, serving as a catalyst for optimizing the return on technology investments.

Over the years, Steven has been an integral part of industry behemoths including Broadcom, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and IBM. His exceptional ability to pioneer multi-hundred-million-dollar products and to lead global sales teams with revenues in the same echelon has consistently demonstrated his capability for high-impact leadership.

Steven serves as a thought leader in various technology consortiums. He was a founding board member and former Chairperson of the Open Mainframe Project, under the aegis of the Linux Foundation. His role as a Board Advisor continues to shape the advocacy for open source implementations of mainframe technologies.

Guy is the CTO at Visible Impact, responsible for positioning, GTM, and sales guidance across technologies and markets. He has decades of field experience describing technologies, their business and community value, and how they are evaluated and acquired. Guy’s specialty areas include cloud, DevOps/cloud-native/12-factor, enterprise applications, Big Data, governance-risk-compliance, containerization, virtualization, HPC, CPUs-GPUs, and systems lifecycle management.

Guy started his technology career as a research director for technology media company Ziff Davis, with stints at PC Magazine, eWeek, and CIO Insight. Prior to joining Visible Impact, he worked at Dell, including postings in marketing, product, and technical marketing groups for a wide range of products, including engineered systems, cloud infrastructure, enterprise software, and mission-critical cloud services. He lives and works in Austin, TX


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