Amazon Launches Elastic Kubernetes Service to Graviton2 Chips Amazon Web Services (AWS), announced that Amazon’s Elastic Kubernetes Service is now available on Graviton2 chips. This was announced at the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon EU 2020 virtual conference. AWS custom-built Graviton processors using 64-bit Arm Neoverse A1 cores. In a blog post, Michael Hausenblas, a product advocate on AWS’ container service team, stated that the 7nm Graviton2 chips contain 30 billion transistors and provide “a major leap in performance” over first-generation AWS Graviton CPUs. The Graviton2 processors are able to power M6g/M6gd and C6g/C6gd instances. Graviton2 supports Large System Extensions (LSE), which improve locking and synchronization performance across large system. It also has support for fp16 and 8-bit dot productions for machine learning, and relaxed consistency-processor consistent (RCpc) memory ordering. Hausenblas stated that these processors are designed to handle a variety of workloads such as application servers and micro-services. They also support electronic design automation, gaming and open-source databases. The processors provide enhanced performance for video encode workloads, hardware acceleration to compress workloads and support for CPU-based machine intelligence inference. The chip also features 256-bit DRAM encryption, which runs 50 percent faster than the previous generation. Amazon EKS on AWS graviton2 is available in most regions where both services are available. Hausenblas has provided a bulleted explanation of what this means:

  • We support ARMv8.2 architecture (64 bits), among other things.
  • End-to-end multi-architecture support.
  • Support is now available for mixed managed node groups.
  • The EKS API and tooling such as eksctl take care of the architecture-specific configurations, for example, launching Arm-based control plane components such as CoreDNS or kube-proxy pods.

Amazon launched its Graviton2 processors on December 2019. They were custom-built by Annapurna Labs (an Israeli-based engineering company) for cloud workloads. AWS acquired them about five years back. The company’s investment into a second ARM-based chip helped it to further develop its custom silicon strategy and reduce its dependence on AMD and Intel server chips. AWS maintains a Git repository to assist new users in using the ARM-based AWS Graviton2 and Graviton2 processors. The “getting started” copy states that while it identifies specific Graviton processor features, the repository is also useful for anyone writing code on Arm.

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