Google could give ARM big data center boost

Here's a look at the fallout should Google go with custom ARM chips in its data centers.

Google is reportedly looking at ARM-based processors for the custom servers that power its data center and cloud.

According to Bloomberg, Google may design its own server processors using ARM technology. If Google follows through it would indicate that the search giant plans a larger rollout. It's unlikely that Google would manufacture ARM chips and then stick with Intel for most processors.

There's an impact on Intel's revenue stream for sure. Bloomberg said that Google is Intel's fifth largest customer.

Here's a look at fallout should Google go ARM.

  • ARM gets data center credibility. ARM executives are very clear about wanting more data center market share. The issue is that gaining share will take time.
  • White-box server growth continues. Google is only going to need more servers so what helps its data centers are going to boost contract manufacturers. Google would likely buy both ARM and Intel servers for a while.
  • Intel takes a hit---maybe. Intel could lose its standing to some degree, but the chip giant would need to be hit by far more than Google to lose significant share. Enterprises would have to go ARM en masse. Another wrinkle is that Intel could theoretically become the foundry for Google's ARM chips. 
  • Enterprises evaluate ARM more. Google would be an excellent proof point that would likely lead to more adoption of efforts like HP's Moonshot server line.

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