Google Cloud launched a series of cloud instances based on Intel E2000 infrastructure processing units (IPUs). The instances are designed for high-performance workloads such as AI applications.

The new C3 instance series is a successor to Google Cloud’s existing C2 instance series. The new instances run on dedicated IPU processors developed in collaboration with Intel. The first of these joint IPUs, dubbed Intel E2000, saw the light of day earlier this year.

E2000 IPUs

E2000 IPUs are optimized for offloading various auxiliary tasks from central server processors. Application performance and speeds increase as a result. E2000 IPUs are specially designed to handle network tasks. The processor can, among other things, encrypt network traffic from cloud applications and reduce the time needed for traffic to reach its destination. Furthermore, E2000 IPUs are able to speed up data transport to and from flash storage.

The IPUs consist of several modules, each capable of handling a proprietary task. A single E2000 supports up to 16 CPU cores based on the Arm Neoverse N1 architecture. In addition to an Intel Xeon-based module for networking tasks, the processor features a module for accelerating infrastructure management and storage traffic between servers and (flash) storage applications. According to Google, the E2000 IPU-based C3 instance series offers up to 200Gbps of throughput.

Other technology

Additionally, the C3 instances include the latest generation of Google Cloud’s Hyperdisk block storage. Google says that by decoupling scalability and performance, the organization is able to offer up to 80 percent more IOPS per virtual CPU than other hyperscalers.

Furthermore, the C3 instance series features typical Intel Xeon Sapphire Rapids processors with several onboard accelerators. These accelerators should make the instances more suitable for high-performance workloads such as AI applications. According to Google Cloud, the C3 series processes these workloads 20 percent more efficiently than the preceding C2 series.

The C3 virtual instance series is now available in private preview.

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