Over the past several years, Amazon has designed its own silicon chips to speed up the performance of servers in its cloud data centers and the artificial intelligence services it sells to customers. Now, in a big step toward seizing control over a key component in its technologies, Amazon is developing a chip to power the hardware switches that shuttle data around networks, The Information has learned.
The new chip effort, which hasn’t been previously reported, is the work of a team that Amazon inherited with its $350 million acquisition of chipmaker Annapurna Labs in 2015, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter and another person who was briefed on the project. Developing its own networking chip could help Amazon Web Services get better performance out of its switches. It could also reduce Amazon’s reliance on Broadcom, a chipmaker with which Amazon has a frosty relationship, according to the two people and others who do business with Amazon.