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3 min read
Michael Boss

The 1960s were a cultural touchstone known by many as ‘The Swinging Sixties’, ‘The Culture Decade’ and ‘The Decade of Civil Rights’. But it also served as a launch point for the internet and many of the technological innovations we use each day.


It was during this period that we saw the development of a concept known as the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). A TCP/IP protocol used by the US military during that time, ARPANET subsequently became the forerunner of the modern internet and, ultimately, the foundation of the cloud computing concept. More than 60 years later, the cloud serves as the foundation for our personal and professional productivity – according to our head of cloud, more than 50% of data is stored in the cloud and 92% of organisations run at least one of their IT environments in it.


Cloud computing has changed the way businesses access IT resources. Rather than investing in physical data centres and servers, companies can now access computing power, storage and databases on an as-needed basis. This on-demand delivery of IT resources over the internet with pay-as-you-go pricing is a game-changer for businesses looking to optimise their IT operations.


More recently, companies are leveraging the cloud for a wide range of use cases, including data backup, disaster recovery, virtual desktops, software development and big data analytics. Healthcare firms are utilising the cloud to create personalised treatment plans for patients, finding cures for diseases; financial services companies are harnessing its power for real-time fraud detection and prevention; the gaming industry is using the cloud to deliver online games to millions of players worldwide. 

And now, companies like our partners at Arm, are incorporating the cloud into the design and production of semiconductors to meet their goals while pushing innovation forward.


The silver lining of the cloud


Semiconductors are the central intelligence of modern electronics. Without them, quite simply, devices would be inoperable. They enable advances in communications, computing, healthcare, military systems, transportation, clean energy and countless other applications. And, as McKinsey projects semiconductors to become a trillion-dollar industry by 2030, the landscape will only become more competitive.


The appeals of the cloud are varied for semiconductor designers. It enables distributors to install a more reliable, seamless infrastructure into each semiconductor while getting to market faster, performing better, cutting costs, being more data-driven and protecting existing IP – all benefits our partners at Arm saw value in.


Strengthening Arm’s cloud capabilities


Based out of the UK, Arm is a chip designer who creates blueprints for the items that power technology such as mobile phones, servers, PCs and vehicles. The over 270 billion chips Arm has shipped thus far power 99% of smartphones and 50% of processors worldwide – in total, 70% of people across the globe use products with an Arm chip.


In 2020, Arm announced its plans to move the majority of its Electronic Design Automation (EDA) workloads to AWS, a shift it hoped would reduce its global data centre footprint by at least 45% and on-premises compute capabilities by 80%. The goal, ultimately, was to efficiently move most of the design work to Arm-based cloud services and encourage partners to design their Arm-based silicon on Arm-based cloud services – all without disrupting customer access to company products.


With on-premises compute impacting time to market, we aided Arm’s EDA workload migration with:


1. Planning: Rather than diving headfirst into a complex migration, we began by creating a prototype to show that it was possible to run the EDA workloads using spot capacity in AWS.


2. Designing: Once proven, we helped ARM develop a high-performance job execution engine with an impressive tech stack on AWS. The solution enabled ARM to auto-scale up and down to meet demand while continually reducing costs.


3. Delivering: Upon completion of the cloud transfer, Arm is experiencing the growth and increased efficiency it originally envisioned. Thus far, compute capacity is three times better, EDA timelines have dipped by 20%, and Arm’s carbon emissions figures have also gone down. Arm’s cloud migration now has them running 50 million jobs a week on AWS Graviton, and the company’s big-picture goal to run Arm on proprietary solutions is in sight.


Like ARPANET in the 1960s, we are seeing technology transforming the way people live at a rapid pace. Semiconductor companies are at the forefront of those changes, enabling cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence. The general semiconductor market is not adopting cloud as quickly as other markets, yet we are hopeful that stories like Arm’s will help inspire a much-needed shakeup in the industry and confidence in hyper-scaled cloud computing.


Would a deeper look into our work with Arm interest you? Check out our new customer story video here!


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