CPU

Google Hires Intel Veteran to Develop Custom Datacenter SoCs

Large companies like Google have been building their own servers for many years now in a bid to get machines that suit their needs the best way possible. Most of these servers run Intel’s Xeon processors with or without customizations, but feature additional hardware that accelerate certain workloads. For Google, this approach is no longer good enough. This week the company announced that it had hired Intel veteran Uri Frank to lead a newly established division that will develop custom system-on-chips (SoC) for the company’s datacenters.

Google is not a newbie when it comes to hardware development. The company introduced its own Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) back in 2015 and today it powers various services, including real-time voice search, photo object recognition, and interactive language translation. In 2018, the company unveiled its video processing units (VPUs) to broaden the number of formats it can distribute videos in. In 2019, it followed with OpenTitan, the first open-source silicon root-of-trust project. Now Google installs its own and third-party hardware onto the motherboards next to an Intel Xeon processor. Going forward, the company wants to pack as many capabilities as it can into SoCs to improve performance, reduce latencies, and reduce the power consumption of its machines. 

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