Nov 30 (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc's cloud computing
unit on Tuesday introduced two new custom computing chips aimed
at helping its customers beat the cost of using chips from Intel
Corp and Nvidia Corp.
With $45.37 billion in sales in 2020, Amazon Web Services
(AWS) is the world's biggest cloud computing provider and one of
the biggest buyers of data center chips, whose computing power
AWS rents out to its customers. Ever since buying a startup
called Annapurna Labs in 2015, AWS has worked to develop its own
On Tuesday, the company released the third generation of its
Graviton chip that is designed to compete with central
processors from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices. The
Graviton3 is 25% faster than its predecessor, and Dave Brown,
vice president of Elastic Compute Cloud at Amazon, told Reuters
that the company expects it to provide a better performance per
dollar than Intel's chips.
AWS also said that a new class of chip called Trainium,
which is designed to train machine learning computer models and
will compete against chips from Nvidia, will soon be available
to its customers. AWS expects it to train machine learning
models for a cost that is 40% lower than Nvidia's flagship chip.
AWS still works closely with Intel, AMD and Nvidia - for
example, it is working with Nvidia to pair its Graviton
processors to providing a way for the Android game developer to
stream its titles to devices. Brown said AWS wants to keep the
computing market competitive by offering an additional chip
"We have thrown down the gauntlet on performance. And I
believe that in the years to come, you'll see better performance
from all of them - Intel, AMD - on price-performance
specifically," Brown said. "That's the thing they have got to
keep our customers happy on."
Raj Bala, a vice president and analyst at research firm
Gartner, said the chip companies should take competition from
AWS seriously over the long term.
For now, many cloud computing customers will want to use
Intel and Nvidia chips because decades of software have been
written to run on them. Only early adopters who can handle the
complexity of re-writing their own software are likely to try
the new AWS chips, Bala said.
But the same was true when AWS launched a decade and half
ago and was used by smaller tech-savvy customers. The company
eventually expanded to mainstream companies and is now on pace
to become as large as traditional firms like Cisco Systems Inc
"It is a broadside against Intel," Bala said. "There's no
two ways about it."
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; editing by David
Evans and Leslie Adler)