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Google reveals new Arm-based custom Axion CPUs made for cloud and data servers

google axion

Today, as part of its Google Cloud 2024 conference, Google announced the Google Axion, its first Arm-based processor designed specifically for cloud and data centers.

In a blog post, Google stated that Axion is just the latest in a long line of the company's efforts to design its own chips, going back to 2016 with the first generation Tensor Processing Units that were also made for Google's data centers. Of course, Google's Pixel smartphone lineup has been using its custom System on Chip (SoC), also labeled as Tensor, since the release of the Pixel 6 phones in 2021.

Google claims the new Axion chips, which use Arm's Neoverse V2 platform, will offer up to 30 percent better performance than previous Arm-based CPUs made for data centers and up to 50 percent better performance than current chips based on the x86 design. The blog post added:

Axion is underpinned by Titanium, a system of purpose-built custom silicon microcontrollers and tiered scale-out offloads. Titanium offloads take care of platform operations like networking and security, so Axion processors have more capacity and improved performance for customer workloads. Titanium also offloads storage I/O processing to Hyperdisk, our new block storage service that decouples performance from instance size and that can be dynamically provisioned in real time.

Google has already been using current-generation Arm-based servers in its data centers to power many of its services, including Google Earth Engine and the YouTube Ads platform. It says it will be moving those services, as well as others, to Axion-based servers "soon."

Axion-based servers will be available for Google Cloud customers sometime later in 2024. In the meantime, businesses can sign up on Google's site to express their interest in checking out virtual machines using Axion chips, which should start becoming available in the coming months.

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