August 10, 2022
Intel teams with Google Cloud to develop ‘Mount Evans’, a new class of data center chip

Intel and Alphabet’s Google Cloud said Wednesday that they have worked together to create a new class of chip that Intel hopes will make it a major vendor in the fast-growing cloud computing market.

The new chip, called Mount Evans and will be sold to others beyond Google, reflects the way cloud computing providers operate. They build huge data centers full of powerful physical computers and sell virtual slices of those machines to other businesses, which in turn get better bang for the buck than building the machines themselves.

For cloud providers, tasks such as setting up virtual machines and getting customer data in the right places are essentially overhead costs. The Mount Evans chip, dubbed an “infrastructure processing unit” (IPU) by Google and Intel, separates and accelerates those tasks from core computing tasks. Doing so helps ensure the security of those operations against hackers and brings flexibility to the data center.

“We see this as strategically important. This is an extremely important area for us and for the data center,” Nick McCain, senior vice president of Networks and Edge Group at Intel, told Reuters.

Intel isn’t the only company making infrastructure chips. Nvidia and Marvell Technology have similar but slightly different offerings.

But Intel and Google are working together on a set of software tools that will be released for free in hopes of making Intel’s version of the chip a broad industry standard to be used beyond Google’s data centers.

Google is hoping to fuel a technology trend that makes it easier for all data center operators to change how they slice their physical computer servers into the virtual, said Amin Vahdat, a Google partner and vice president of engineering. whichever is in line with the computing task at hand.

“The basic question of what a server is is going to go beyond what’s inside the sheet metal. The IPU is going to play a central role there,” Vahdat told Reuters.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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