I will probably be trustworthy with you. For years, I did not fairly perceive all the eye that the RISC-V ecosystem or the options have been getting. I noticed very small CPU cores getting used with out excessive stage working methods in self-contained environments. These have been changing Arm M0 options in exhausting drive controllers. There may be worth in that, but it surely’s simply not the kind of factor that I believe adjustments the sport within the business.

Additionally, from a enterprise mannequin viewpoint, you continue to needed to pay anyone to design the RISC-V chip, so what was the purpose, you’ll both pay the designer or Arm? There aren’t any free lunches. The opposite factor that was a tad boring was that I did not see options with numerous compute energy or RAS options that might make a distinction within the knowledge middle market. Laborious drive controller kind of CPU efficiency. Sure, I did acknowledge the ISA extensibility to accelerators, but it surely appeared Arm plugged that gap and that it may trigger ISA “compatibility” points down the road.

Then Ventana Techniques got here onto the scene.

Over the previous six months, the corporate shared with me among the particulars of its plans that appeared fairly compelling. This week on the RISC-V Summit the corporate formally introduced what had been in stealth for years- Veyron, what the corporate calls “the world’s first datacenter-class RISC-V CPU.” It gave particulars on Veyron V1 and confirmed {that a} yr later we might see a V2.

That is greater than slideware. I imagine the corporate has main design commitments spanning the datacenter to the sting that might be in operational methods in late 2023.

So, what capabilities does the Veyron V1 CPU chiplet, processor, or the IP have?

  • Eight huge, aggressive out-of-order instruction pipeline
  • 3.6GHz
  • 5nm course of expertise
  • 16 cores per cluster
  • Excessive core rely multi-cluster scalability (as much as 192 cores)
  • 48MB of shared L3 cache
  • Superior aspect channel assault mitigations
  • IOMMU & Superior Interrupt Structure (AIA)
  • Full RVA22 software profile compliance
  • System stage code profiling

What strikes me about this bullet checklist is that it’s constructed for high-performance, RAS (Reliability, Serviceability. Availability) and safety. Greater ranges of RAS and safety are required within the datacenter, the datacenter edge, provider use circumstances, and within the software-defined automobile.

The corporate is committing the best single thread and socket efficiency versus different RISC-V designs. From what I collect, this will probably be, at first, a simple bar to cross. Nobody else, to my data, is that this far. The efficiency bar within the subsequent two years are with Arm and X86 ISAs and Ventana wasn’t shy about exhibiting it outperformed present processors like Xeon Ice Lake, EPYC Milan (Zen 3), and AWS Graviton 3 with ones it should have in late 2023.

Simple math says that Ventana would want to spice up its future efficiency with V2 to beat the upcoming chips and IP from Arm, Intel, AMD, and AWS home-grown, however that could be lacking the purpose. Ventana doesn’t have to beat everybody, it simply must be within the respectable vary, which, if the corporate delivers, it should. We will’t neglect that the magic of a RISC-V based mostly CPU isn’t simply efficiency, it’s the customized directions and accelerators that can be utilized.

Whereas I had earlier dismissed the “extensible ISA” capabilities inherent within the RISC-V structure as messy and replicable by Arm, the Ventana design wins all embrace this. The corporate has constructed round it a mesh of companions with options for storage, AI, 5G acceleration, and extra. What I’ve to do extra analysis on are the cross-software compatibility diploma after we get many various flavors of RISC-V CPUs into the market.

Additionally attention-grabbing is that Ventana is concentrating on the identical locations early Arm-based implementations focused and had success with. These are workloads like hosting, in-memory databases, storage, load balancing, caching, CDN and streaming. This comes straight from the Arm playbook as a result of…. it really works, and lots of Ventana workers got here from Arm-based datacenter processor firms. None of this needs to be a shock.

Let’s speak software program. This one is a difficult one. If there’s a query I hear most in regards to the RISC-V diploma of success in higher-order use circumstances, it’s software program. I get it. All of us watched the ten+ years it took to create the Arm stack for the datacenter. I’m not able to declare “success” or “completed” on this. Here’s what I do know:

  • Arm blazed the path for non-x86 instruments, firmware, BIOS, OS, and the preferred use circumstances with open-source software program
  • Cloud giants personal their very own software program stacks and have the sources to maneuver mountains
  • these individuals realized the ins and outs of non-X86 and seem to extra shortly take these talent units to RISC-V with the management of Ventana
  • logic says the time to RISC-V will probably be shorter than time to Arm

Ultimately, I will probably be most satisfied by actual firms working actual manufacturing workloads. I believe Ventana is aware of precisely what it’s moving into because it was entrance and middle within the Arm software program battle.


I beforehand didn’t see RISC-V as a viable different in data-centric environments as I witnessed the ache Arm and its companions went by way of and didn’t see sufficient differentiation for individuals to modify. Enter Ventana.

I can’t query design wins, although, and I imagine Ventana has many. The rationale they need to use Ventana are:

  • sufficient efficiency at present and confidence in future efficiency
  • extensible ISA acceleration capabilities
  • skilled management that has been by way of the x86 and Arm crucible
  • go-to-market flexibility with IP, core and full processor

Each Ventana founders Balaji Baktha and Greg Favor have been by way of the hearth earlier than with the x86 and Arm wars. I imagine the 2 have only a few blind spots about what the corporate must do to get a foothold. If there’s any crew that I believe can do it within the RISC-V house, I imagine it’s this one. Baktha and Favor can’t change the diploma of aggressive response, however the firm can flawlessly execute on what seems to be like an excellent plan. I can’t watch for what the long run holds for Veyron 1 and a couple of.

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Moor Insights & Technique founder, CEO, and Chief Analyst Patrick Moorhead is an investor in dMY Know-how Group Inc. VI, Dreamium Labs, Groq, Luminar Applied sciences, MemryX, and Movandi.

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