AMD Targets Big Data With SeaMicro Low Power Server

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AMD has launched a new low power server thanks to its SeaMicro acquisition, as it looks to ramp up its data centre offerings

AMD has revealed the first fruits of its SeaMicro purchase, unveiling a new server geared towards the data centre market.

AMD announced that its SeaMicro SM15000 server is able to extend beyond its SeaMicro chassis and is able to connect directly to massive 5 petabyte storage arrays, in order to run large-scale cloud and big data applications.

Intel Compatible

The new server is the first new product from microserver maker SeaMicro, after it was acquired by AMD in February for $334 million (£208m).

The SeaMicro SM15000 server is available now and is also compatible Intel’s Xeon Processor E3-1260L (‘Sandy Bridge’). By November the SM15000 will support the next generation of AMD Opteron processors featuring the ‘Piledriver’ core, as well as the newly announced Intel Xeon Processor E3-1265Lv2 (‘Ivy Bridge’).

“Historically, server architecture has focused on the processor, while storage and networking were afterthoughts,” explained Andrew Feldman, corporate VP and general manager of the Data Center Server Solutions group at AMD.

“But increasingly, cloud and big data customers have sought a solution in which storage, networking and compute are in balance and are shared,” said Feldman in a company statement. “In a legacy server, storage is a captive resource for an individual processor, limiting the ability of disks to be shared across multiple processors, causing massive data replication and necessitating the purchase of expensive storage area networking or network attached storage equipment.”.

But Feldman pointed out that AMD’s SeaMicro SM15000 server enables companies to share massive amounts of storage across hundreds of computing nodes in an exceptionally dense form factor.

“We believe that this will transform the data centre compute and storage landscape,” Feldman boasted.

Low Power

The drive towards energy-efficient but powerful servers has been ongoing now for a while. SeaMicro had made a name for itself in this sphere when in a surprise move earlier this year it was announced it was being acquired by AMD. The move was surprising because SeaMicro was an Intel partner and had been selling systems based on Intel’s Atom chips.

However AMD was attracted by SeaMicro’s Freedom Fabric technology, which handles storage and networking virtualisation. Intel executives put a brave face on losing the company to its chief rival, and said they had considered buying SeaMicro but eventually passed, because they were developing their own microserver and fabric efforts.

“AMD’s SeaMicro technology is leading innovation in micro servers and data centre compute,” said Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst of ZK Research. “The team invented the micro server category, was the first to bring small-core servers and large-core servers to market in the same system, the first to market with a second-generation fabric, and the first to build a fabric that supports multiple processors and instruction sets. It is not surprising that they have extended the technology to storage.

“The bringing together of compute and petabytes of storage demonstrates the flexibility of the Freedom Fabric,” said Kerravala. “They are blurring the boundaries of compute, storage and networking, and they have once again challenged the industry with bold innovation.”

Server Stats

AMD’s SeaMicro SM15000 server stands at ten rack units or 17.5 inches tall and contains 64 slots for compute cards for AMD Opteron or Intel Xeon processors. It provides up to ten gigabits per-second of bandwidth to each CPU, and connects up to 1,408 SSDs or HDDs with Freedom Fabric Storage.

It delivers up to 16 10 GbE uplinks or up to 64 1GbE uplinks and can run off-the-shelf operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Red Hat and VMware and Citrix XenServer hypervisors.

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