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Cloudflare Chooses AMD EPYC Milan Over More Power-Hungry Intel Ice Lake Xeons

AMD EPYC Milan SoC
(Image credit: AMD)

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.

  • Sleepy_Hollowed
    Makes total sense even on the computing front. AMD cores are performant so just having good power take up less space and less heat and power, one would be insane t choose Intel.

    That is outside of very specialized workloads (Database server racks) where one might choose intel to run on metal or speed up those loads with AVX512.
    Reply
  • rtoaht
    This looks like a paid ad. Plenty of large customers like Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc. are buying Xeons over Epyc while others are buying Epyc over Xeon. Both are happening in real-time. So are you going to make a story on "Facebook chooses Intel Ice Lake Xeons over high-latency AMD EPYC Milan"?
    Reply
  • Sleepy_Hollowed
    rtoaht said:
    This looks like a paid ad. Plenty of large customers like Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc. are buying Xeons over Epyc while others are buying Epyc over Xeon. Both are happening in real-time. So are you going to make a story on "Facebook chooses Intel Ice Lake Xeons over high-latency AMD EPYC Milan"?

    what are you talking about: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-06/amd-says-amazon-s-cloud-unit-is-a-partner-for-epyc-server-chips
    Reply
  • waltc3
    I very much doubt Intel has anything to compete with these multicore EPYCs, especially the 64-core EPYC....;) What good is "competitive performance" from Intel if it demands 200Ws more per server than AMD to achieve? Man, that is a mind-blowing difference. If they pumped 200W more per server into the AMD situations I can't even guess at how much faster the EPYCs would be. No one but a dunce would choose Xeon over EPYC today, imo. Well if Intel is bottoming out the price to get the business, I can see it, sure.
    Reply
  • watzupken
    rtoaht said:
    This looks like a paid ad. Plenty of large customers like Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc. are buying Xeons over Epyc while others are buying Epyc over Xeon. Both are happening in real-time. So are you going to make a story on "Facebook chooses Intel Ice Lake Xeons over high-latency AMD EPYC Milan"?
    Paid ad? I think you have been living under a rock. Most of these companies are gradually moving away from Intel, either to AMD or to their own custom ARM based processor. Which also accounted for the steep drop in Intel's datacenter revenue this year. It is true that they are likely still using predominantly Intel chips for now, but that Intel monopoly is starting to lose its grip.
    Looking at this article, I feel the same can be said about Intel's Tiger Lake processor which is one of their best right now. It is competitive with AMD's Zen 3 in terms of performance, but it requires quite a fair bit more power to get there.
    Reply