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Recent AWS Hires Suggest Cloud Giant Planning to Build Custom Server Chips

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Several recent job listings and hires in Austin, Texas, seem to support the rumors that Amazon Web Services is building a team to develop its own custom server chips for its cloud infrastructure.

According to a report on Tuesday by GigaOm, AWS has hired at least six chip engineers that worked at Calxeda, the shuttered ARM-based server startup in Austin. These hires bring silicon design, fabric and board design experience to AWS, and joined the company in March. These employees will work out of a chip design center in Austin.

AWS has a few other job listings on LinkedIn that point to its intentions in developing its own server chips, according to the report, including a listing for a CPU Architect/Miro-Architect to join its Silicon Optimization team in Austin.

While AWS has never been one to talk about the scope of its infrastructure, it operates major data centers in eight geographic regions and has 42 global edge locations around the world. AWS has not commented on this particular rumor.

AWS already builds its own servers and infrastructure optimized for the service they are running, and has claimed savings of 30 percent on costs taking this route. The company’s operations and investments in hardware are certainly big enough to warrant investing in custom chips, GigaOm suggests. And while it could be risky, the coming introduction of a 64-bit ARM-based server core is set to improve the economics of developing custom chips.

Of course, Amazon is not the only cloud player rumored to be getting into the chip design game. Google is also supposedly designing its own silicon for its data centers, and is rumored to be designing ARM-based server chips.

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