AMD's SeaMicro launches new servers with Opteron and Xeon chips

By Lee Kaelin on September 11, 2012, 11:00 AM

SeaMicro has unveiled the first product updates to its energy-efficient server platform since being acquired by AMD earlier this year, launching the SM15000 server and Freedom Fabric storage enclosures. The new servers are aimed squarely at the cloud computing market, offering configurations using AMD and Intel processors.

The SN15000 can manage as much as 5PB (petabytes) of storage spread across up to 1,408 mechanical disks or SSDs. It will be available in two distinct hardware configurations, the first uses 64 AMD Opteron eight-core processors, giving 512 cores and 4TB of DRAM. For those who prefer Intel chips, SeaMicro offers a version with 64 Intel Xeon quad-core Ivy Bridge processors amounting to 256 cores with 2TB of DRAM.

They offer as much as 16 times more bandwidth while consuming a quarter of the electricity of previous versions, according to Andrew Feldman, SeaMicro's former CEO and now general manager of AMD's data center server division. The new range focuses on helping businesses manage massive amounts of storage by extending its proprietary Freedom Fabric (PDF) technology beyond the physical server. By daisy-chaining separate storage enclosures together, Feldman says the server can be used much like a SAN.

"You get the ability to transform compute and storage by creating vast combinations of ratios between compute and storage" with the products, Feldman said. "With all this data, you don't know what you need, so you store more of it close to the compute to get access to it."

While AMD realizes it needs to offer compelling solutions to help diversify beyond its struggling position in the PC market, it won't be adopting ARM's architecture for the moment. "An [ARM Cortex] A9 core cannot stack up, it's not a very interesting part. Looking forward they [ARM] have a new part early 2014, late 2013 depending on whom you listen to. When there is a good ARM part we will look at it," said Feldman.

SeaMicro's SN15000 server will be available from November with prices starting at $139,000 for the 64-socket AMD Opteron version with eight storage disks.

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