Service Provider Cloud

Google's Hölzle: Moore's Law Slowdown Drives Cloud Demand

SAN FRANCISCO -- Structure 2016 -- Cloud is becoming more important as Moore's Law slows down, Urs Hölzle, Google's senior vice president for technical infrastructure, said Tuesday.

"Moore's Law is slowing down," Hölzle said at a presentation here. An operator can't count on getting double performance every nine to 14 months.

That's driving operators to specialized CPUs for smaller performance gains. Now, if you see a 30% performance gain for specialized CPUs, you take it. Previously, that gain wasn't worth it; Moore's Law would have delivered that performance gain in general-purpose CPUs in three months.

Nice Socks
Google's Holzle talks infrastructure with The Next Platform's Nicole Hemsoth.
Google's Hölzle talks infrastructure with The Next Platform's Nicole Hemsoth.

And that's where the cloud comes in. Adopting a specialized CPU requires changing hardware, which is easier in the cloud. "In the cloud it's much easier to insert new technology," Hölzle said. Software such as TensorFlow, open source machine learning software created by Google, shields users and applications from needing to know what kind of hardware is running underneath.

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"You can have a million customers who move to that new hardware platform not knowing they did," Hölzle said. If you had to make that hardware change with on-premises equipment, the process would be far slower. Early adopters would move quickly, but half the market would lag behind. "It's much cheaper to insert new technology [in the cloud], and much faster," he said.

Moreover, if a new hardware platform doesn't work it, it's easier to undo, Hölzle said.

On another hardware point: Flash storage has gone from accelerating performance to becoming a performance bottleneck, Hölzle said. Flash was great when it came out ten to 15 years ago, but now it's too slow. The speed difference between disk and CPU in 1985 is the same as between flash and CPU today. And disk and CPU today is like tape and CPU in 1985.

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Eldu 11/8/2016 | 4:21:18 PM
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