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Google Cloud confirms Intel Ice Lake processor support for N2 VMs

Tech giant promises 30% boost in price-performance compared to previous generation of Xeons used in its cloud

Intel and Google partnership on Xeon processors

Google Cloud has announced that its Compute Engine N2 virtual machines (VMs) will be available with Intel's 10 nanometer Ice Lake Xeon processors.

There's no specific date for the release, but Google now joins a list of companies that includes Amazon, Microsoft, and Oracle, which are set to use the latest generation of Xeon Scalable chips for their cloud services.

Google claims that using the 10nm chips in the N2 VMs will offer a 30% boost in price-performance compared to the previous generation of Xeons. The current version of N2 uses Intel's 14nm second-generation processors, known as Cascade Lake.

The new N2 VMs will be offered at the same price as the existing Cascade Lake N2, and their usage can be discounted using existing N2 committed use discounts, according to Google.

The news comes just two weeks before Google Cloud Next, the cloud giant's annual conference, where more details of the announcement will likely be shared. This is somewhat behind the rest of the industry, however, with Amazon, Microsoft, and Oracle all confirming support shortly after Intel officially revealed Ice Lake in April.

Google's N2 will be available in preview early in the fourth quarter of 2021 in the US, Europe, and Southeast Asia, while availability in additional Google Cloud regions, in line with current N2 machine family regions, is planned for "the coming months", the tech giant said.

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The Ice Lake-N2 VMs have already been used by select customers, such as e-commerce firm Shopify, which used them to increase performance and reduce response times for its applications.

"With Google Cloud's new N2-Ice Lake VMs, we were able to achieve improvements on all these areas," said Justin Reid, senior staff engineer at Shopify. "We were able to achieve over 10% performance improvements for one of our compute-intensive workloads by running on the new N2 Ice Lake VMs and also achieve lower request latency for our users as compared to previous generation N2 Cascade Lake VMs."

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