Like most tech titans, Cloudflare, one of the backbones of modern internet infrastructure, actively improves its network infrastructure over the years to keep up with the growing number of workloads and internet traffic. As you'd expect, those upgrades entail selecting new CPUs. As shared in a post on the Cloudflare blog, the company says it has chosen AMD EPYC Milan CPUs over Intel's Ice Lake Xeons for its new 11th-gen servers, primarily due to Ice Lake's comparatively higher power consumption.
Cloudflare updates its infrastructure for edge nodes every 12 to 18 months and evaluates all modern processors to test their performance and efficiency for handling millions of requests every moment.
Cloudflare evaluated AMD's third-gen EPYC Milan processors and Intel's ice Lake Xeon processors. However, it focused on efficiency over performance. Cloudflare measured all of the requests that each processor could handle per watt of energy consumed, thus deriving a Requests-per-Watt metric to compare energy efficiency between the different chips.
Cloudflare's testing with 48, 56, and 64-core AMD EPYC Milan and Intel Ice Lake Xeons reveal that "Although Intel’s chips were able to compete with AMD in terms of raw performance, the power consumption was several hundred watts higher per server - that’s enormous. This meant that Intel’s Performance per Watt was unattractive."
According to Cloudflare, intel's performance is there, but at Cloudflare's scale, efficiency is perhaps the biggest factor as the company owns data centers across 200 locations around the world. These systems use a lot of power and require cooling. As a result, a less efficient processor would cost the company more money just to keep it operational, so the company decided that AMD's EPYC Milan chips are the right choice for its specific workloads. You can read more about the in-depth testing on Cloudflare's blog.