Google trumpets cloudy Skylake silicon nobody else is running
Remember when PC or server-makers would breathlessly announce they’d just become the first, the very first, to get their hands on some new silicon and that doing so made them Terribly Clever? And represented enormous advantage to you, because you could buy that silicon right now instead of waiting, well, weeks for someone else to offer it? That tactic’s back, but this time with what looks like real meaning because #Google has started to offer Intel’s #Skylake Xeons in its cloud, complete with Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX-512). And so far as The Register can see, Intel simply doesn’t sell products in that combination. As our sibling site The Next Platform reported, Xeon Skylakes are a middle-of-2017 proposition. And for now AVX-512 is only offered in a handful of older CPUs and Xeon Phis All of which suggests that the Google/Intel cloud alliance struck in late 2016 has quickly borne fruit in the form of period of silicon exclusivity. The announcement of the new silicon certainly hints at the two companies collaborating closely when it says “We optimized Skylake for Google Compute Engine’s complete family of VMs — standard, highmem, highcpu and Custom Machine Types”. That “we” surely suggests Google’s had some input into the CPUs’ design. Google’s not saying what it will cost to run cloudy Skylakes, but lets you sign up to do so here. We’ve asked Google for more information on just what Xeons it is running and will update this story if information comes to hand. What we do know is that Google is saying “Skylake’s AVX-512 doubles the floating-point performance for the heaviest calculations” and is therefore being advanced as eminently suitable for “scientific modeling, genomic research, 3D rendering, data analytics and engineering simulations.” Which is pretty much what AWS says, too, about the boring-old-school-Xeon-powered new set of i3 instances it also revealed last Friday.