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Google Cloud hires Intel exec to ramp up in-house chip production

Uri Frank has been appointed VP of Engineering for the tech giant’s server chip design division

Google Cloud has hired Intel engineering veteran Uri Frank to lead new server chip design efforts as part of the firm's increasing investments in custom silicon.

Frank has spent the last two decades at Intel, advancing to director Of Engineering in 2011 and later becoming VP of Platform and Silicon Engineering. Last year, he was appointed corporate VP of Intel’s Design Engineering Group but chose to leave the role earlier this month. 

It has now been revealed that Frank has been hired by Google and appointed VP of Engineering for the tech giant’s server chip design division, which the company has confirmed will be based in Israel.

Announcing the move on his LinkedIn profile, Frank wrote that he “look[s] forward to growing a team here in Israel while accelerating Google Cloud’s innovations in compute infrastructure”, before adding that the tech giant is currently hiring system-on-a-chip (SOC) designers to join its growing sever chip team.

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Google Cloud’s VP of Systems Infrastructure Amin Vahdat said that the company is “thrilled to welcome Uri Frank as our VP of Engineering for server chip design”, adding that Frank “brings nearly 25 years of custom CPU design and delivery experience” that will help Google “build a world-class team in Israel”. 

“We’ve long looked to Israel for novel technologies including Waze, Call Screen, flood forecasting, high-impact features in Search, and Velostrata’s cloud migration tools, and we look forward to growing our presence in this global innovation hub,” he stated.

Vahdat also elaborated on the company’s decision to focus on in-house SoC design. 

“Instead of integrating components on a motherboard where they are separated by inches of wires, we are turning to “Systems on Chip” (SoC) designs where multiple functions sit on the same chip, or on multiple chips inside one package. In other words, the SoC is the new motherboard,” he wrote.

The decision to produce custom chips in-house as opposed to outsourcing follows similar moves from companies including AWS and Apple.

This trend has been largely influenced by the difficulties in fulfilling the growing demand for chips, which has resulted in a significant global shortage of components. By manufacturing chips in-house, companies can be more self-sufficient, instead of relying on their suppliers.

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