A new category of chips will be developed by Intel and Google Cloud. The two firms hope their joint product will become a "classic" for the fast-growing and booming cloud computing market.
The new Mount Evans chip reflects the way cloud computing providers operate. They build massive data centers filled with powerful computers and sell virtual "chunks" of those machines to various companies that find it more convenient than buying and installing their own server centers.
For cloud providers, the tasks of setting up virtual machines and sending customer data to the right location are essentially overhead. The new chip separates these tasks from the core computing tasks and speeds them up. It helps secure the relevant functions and adds flexibility to the data center.
Because of its specificity, the new chip has been dubbed an "infrastructure processor" (IPU) by manufacturers. Mount Evans will be sold to cloud data center operators other than Google. Intel, on the other hand, sees the project as strategic. "This is a very important area for us and for data centers," said Nick McKeown, senior vice president of the company's networking and peripherals group.