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Chips & Processors

AMD Pushes Data Center Envelope with SeaMicro

AMD Pushes Data Center Envelope with SeaMicro
September 12, 2012 2:44PM

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"AMD's announcement appears to reflect the astuteness of the company's new leadership," said analyst Charles King. "The new SeaMicro SM15000 solutions should provide AMD the means to both deliver additional value to existing customers and explore ample new opportunities in the emerging micro server market."

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AMD is making a push on the data center technology front this week with its SeaMicro SM15000 server. The new server extends fabric-based computing across racks and aisles of the data center to connect to massive disk arrays supporting over 5 petabytes of storage capacity. AMD also announced a new generation of compute cards for its micro servers based on AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon processors.

Andrew Feldman, general manager and corporate vice president of the Data Center Server Solutions group at AMD, said the rise of virtualization, cloud computing, and Big Data require a new generation of compute in which networking and storage are equal partners in the solution.

"This does not fit the mold of traditional servers," Feldman said. "We are at the beginning of a new wave of computing that requires data centers to become pools of computing and storage resources with the flexibility to expand in both dimensions."

The Intel Connection

AMD is pitching that the SM15000 system removes the constraints of traditional servers and allows data centers to expand compute, networking and storage independently. Does the pitch hold water? First, more facts.

Micro servers are dense, hyper-efficient systems in which the compute, storage, and networking are linked by a fabric that lets them share common infrastructure components. The SeaMicro SM15000 micro server uses patented Freedom Fabric. That, AMD said, makes possible the disaggregation of data center infrastructure.

With the new AMD Opteron processor, AMD's SeaMicro SM15000 provides 512 cores in a 10-rack unit system with more than 4 terabytes of DRAM and supports up to 5 petabytes of Freedom Fabric Storage.

AMD's SeaMicro SM15000 server is the first micro server to support the latest generation of Intel Xeon processors based on the "Ivy Bridge" micro-architecture. A SeaMicro SM15000 server configured with 64 Intel Xeon E3-1265Lv2 CPUs provides 256 cores and 2 terabytes of DRAM.

AMD Ready to Play

Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told us AMD is ready to play. Rather than focus on emerging server silicon leveraging the low-power ARM architecture, he said, SeaMicro based its systems on Intel's energy efficient Atom and Xeon processors. But the company's real secret sauce is its Freedom Fabric -- a custom ASIC which saves space and power on the motherboard, consolidates and manages CPU and chipset functions and ties together hundreds of power-reduced motherboards with a blazing 1.20+ terabits-per-second interconnect technology.

"In all, AMD's announcement appears to reflect the astuteness of the company's new leadership. The new SeaMicro SM15000 solutions should provide AMD the means to both deliver additional value to existing customers and explore ample new opportunities in the emerging micro server market," King said.

"More importantly, continuing to support Xeon-based SeaMicro offerings is smart commercially and also offers AMD a mechanism for direct side-by-side comparisons with systems based on its own Opteron CPUs. While the AMD of today may not yet be the world changer it was in 2003, this new announcement shows that [AMD CEO] Rory Read and company possess the savvy and the ambition required to dream big and execute intelligently."

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