Oracle launches Arm-based cloud computing service powered by Ampere chips

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Oracle launches Arm-based cloud computing service powered by Ampere chips
Oracle Headquarters Redwood Shores, November 2009 file photo (Image by Hakan Dahlström via Flickr)

Oracle Corporation, the second major cloud provider to offer an Arm-based service after Amazon.com’s Amazon Web Services (AWS), introduced a cloud computing service on Tuesday that is powered by data centre chips from Ampere Computing and is based on Arm Ltd. technology.

Because they rent out the computing power they produce to thousands of other companies, cloud providers are among the biggest consumers of chips. The majority of corporate software is designed to work on Intel Corporation and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) processors, thus up until recently, cloud services primarily purchased such chips.

When Amazon, the largest cloud provider, announced a service using a custom chip made with intellectual property from Arm, the British company whose technology already powers the majority of smartphone chips and is steadily making its way into laptops and data centres to compete with Intel and AMD, things started to change.

Oracle on Tuesday join the race with processors from Ampere Computing, the company founded by former Intel president Renee James, and a current Oracle board member, founded. Oracle said that it would rent out the chips for less than half the usual rate among its competitors—1 cent per computing core per hour.

“We’re at an inflection point in the industry,” Clay Magouyrk, executive vice president of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, told Reuters in an interview. “Now that there’s a very competitive Arm product, I view my job as to offer my customers value and choice.”

In a move that could benefit its rivals, Oracle also unveiled several projects to increase the amount of commercial software that works on Arm chips. Although Microsoft and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, do not yet provide Arm-based cloud services to the general public, Magouyrk said he expects they will do so and that this would eventually be to the benefit of all cloud customers.

“We’ll be ahead of them in that regard, but I also think they’ll have Arm offerings and they’ll be highly competitive. I view this is a multi-year process where Arm becomes ubiquitous on the server,” said Magouyrk.