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SeaMicro Gives AMD New Server, Big Data Storage, And Intel Partnership

With its new SeaMicro 15000, AMD is looking to make a splash in data centers where low power consumption, high processor density and high-performance storage meet in such cloud applications as big data.

AMD Monday evening unveiled its new SeaMicro SM15000 server, a new data center-centric platform that provides up to 256 Intel Xeon Ivy Bridge processor cores or 512 AMD Opteron Piledriver processor cores in 10U of rack space.

The SeaMicro SM15000 also includes AMD's new Freedom Fabric storage fabric that connects the 10U server chassis to over 5 petabytes of storage, which AMD said makes it suitable for high-capacity storage and for big data applications. AMD also introduced new storage arrays to go with its Freedom Fabric technology.

The introduction of the new server platform, which will soon incorporate the latest Xeon processors, also shows that AMD is learning to work closely with Intel, its primary rival in the processor market but now a partner in future server developments.

[Related: Intel Debuts Haswell Core Processors, Next-Gen Line Of Ultrabooks ]

AMD earlier this year acquired newcomer SeaMicro in a $300 million-plus deal that gave it a server platform designed specifically to reduce data center power consumption.

The new SeaMicro SM15000 server system is based on SeaMicro's single-socket micro server boards, which are smaller than a letter-sized piece of paper but come built with an AMD or Intel processor, with up to 32 GB of DRAM for Intel processors or 64 GB of DRAM for AMD processors and 16 10-Gbit Ethernet ports.

The SeaMicro server line started out with 32-bit Intel Atom processors and was last updated with 64-bit Atom processors.

AMD on Monday unveiled two new flagship servers under the SeaMicro 15000 name.

One model, to be based on AMD's upcoming Opteron "Piledriver" processor, will feature 64 8-core processors totaling 512 cores per 10U system or 2,024 cores in a full rack. Each processor will come attached to 64 GB of DRAM, providing a total of 4.1 TB of DRAM per 10U system or 16.4 TB per rack.

The other model, to be based on Intel's Xeon E3-1265Lv2 "Ivy Bridge" processors, will feature half the cores and memory of the "Piledriver" version, AMD said.

Both these servers are expected to ship in November.

In the meantime, AMD is currently shipping a version built with Intel Xeon E3-1260L "Sandy Bridge" processors.

Just as important as the new higher-density processor core design is the new servers' Freedom Fabric storage design.

NEXT: New Storage, Big Data Capabilities From AMD


AMD's Freedom Fabric is a fabric design that links both AMD and Intel processors, as well as non-x86-compatible processors, to storage outside the server chassis. With Freedom Fabric, one chassis supports up to 1,408 hard drives and SSDs, or over 5 petabytes of storage capacity. The storage is directly attached to the server, so no SAN is needed.

AMD also introduced three arrays in its new Freedom Fabric Storage line. They include the FS 5084-L, an ultra-dense, capacity-optimized system that provides up to 336 TB of capacity in a 5U footprint; the FS 2012-L, a capacity-optimized system supporting up to 48 TB of capacity in a 2U footprint; and the FS 2024-L, a performance-optimized system with up to 24 TB of capacity in a 2U footprint.

Using a single SeaMicro 15000 server enclosure and 16 Freedom Fabric Storage arrays, customers will be able to build a 5-petabyte storage cluster using 2 racks of space, 64 operating system and big data software licenses, 38 power cords, and 32 fabric extender cables, which together consume 20 kilowatts of power.

AMD contrasted that with a traditional rackmount system, which required 112 2U "Sandy Bridge" servers, 224 software licenses, 12 10-Gbit Ethernet switches, six terminal servers, 224 power cables, and 248 networking cables sitting in six racks and consuming 40 kilowatts of power to achieve a 5-petabyte storage cluster.

Because of the density of the storage and the performance of the new servers, AMD said the new SeaMicro SM15000 would be suitable to run big data applications including Apache Hadoop and Cassandra in both public and private clouds.

PUBLISHED SEPT. 11, 2012

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