AMD Announces Milan-X 3D V-Cache CPUs, Azure Prepares For Great Upgrade
Written by Michael Larabel in Processors on 8 November 2021. Page 2 of 2. 34 Comments

Earlier this year when AMD introduced the EPYC 7003 series, Microsoft was out of the gate with EPYC Milan on Azure right away. With Milan-X, they are continuing to ramp things right away.

Rather than launching Milan-X as a new instance series on Azure, Microsoft is phasing it in as an update to their HBv3 series that launched earlier this year for Milan. No customer changes are required but will be rolling out Milan-X as same-size HBv3 VMs to provide a nice mid-cycle performance upgrade.

Not only is this coming as an "upgrade" to HBv3, but Microsoft is maintaining the same pricing as current for these instances... So now with the increased competition from Google Cloud TauVM and other public cloud providers, HBv3 is becoming much more compelling in the shift to Milan-X at the same pricing level.

Microsoft is providing a preview program beginning today for HBv3 with Milan-X while "soon" they will offer these upgraded HBv3 series globally. Microsoft has found Milan-X to be particularly compelling for large HPC workloads deployed across multiple VMs.

The "soon" on Milan-X for HBv3 availability seems to be a bit convoluted, unfortunately. Microsoft during my pre-briefing wouldn't elaborate on how "soon" is soon while noting their preview program begins today. But as noted, AMD is not launching Milan-X until Q1. So it isn't entirely clear if general Microsoft Azure customers can expect to find Milan-X instances prior to that Q1 launch window. I ended up having early access to the new Milan-X HBv3 instances - and after a busy weekend of testing in preparation for today's announcement - this morning AMD requested that any Milan-X numbers not be published until the formal Q1 launch. So, unfortunately, for now that's the end of story. But at least I am allowed to confirm AMD and Microsoft performance claims about Milan-X in the context of single VM performance (the area I was focusing upon in my initial tests). Milan-X is kicking ass for demanding HPC workloads and also various other Linux workloads able to take advantage of the large 3D V-Cache. If you have demanding, memory bandwidth intensive and cache-happy workloads, buckle up for an exciting Q1. With Microsoft's quick planned roll-out of Milan-X to HBv3 instances, it's great for those wanting to at least evaluate the platform ahead of any planned hardware purchases or large cloud deployments while Azure cloud customers can enjoy it as a free upgrade over Milan.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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