Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Pat Romanski, Derek Weeks, Mehdi Daoudi, Liz McMillan, Mark Herring

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Open Source Cloud, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo

Containers Expo Blog: Article

Hardware Systems Born for the Cloud & Big Data

It’s the first time AMD has gone into the storage business

AMD finds itself in the increasing novel situation - sorta like Microsoft with its promised Surface tablets - of possibly competing against its OEMs with a system - and not just a box with Intel chips in it - which is novel enough, imagine AMD selling Intel chips - but a complete plug-and-play system with scads of external storage that it's building itself.

It's the first time AMD has gone into the storage business and it owes this little adventure in vertical integration to its $334 million acquisition of micro server maker SeaMicro earlier this year.

SeaMicro builds dense, energy-efficient micro servers that are aimed at the 500 top clouds and Big Data houses. AMD bought SeaMicro out from under Intel in February as a way to backstroke out of its evaporating PC pool.

Ironically it was Intel that predicted that micro servers would claim 10% of the server market by 2015.

Back when it was bought SeaMicro's widgetry only used Intel chips, first Atoms then in the spring Xeons. The next iteration of SeaMicro's machines, due to appear in November, will be the first time SeaMicro uses an AMD processor. It will also have a follow-on to the Intel boxes it currently sells.

More importantly, with this new SM15000 generation SeaMicro will be able realize the vision it's been working on for 15 months.

It's taken its Freedom Supercompute Fabric and extended it outside its server chassis to massive disk arrays worth five petabytes of external storage with some newfangled second-generation Freedom Fabric Storage technology.

It drags data closer to the compute in the possible 64 servers in the tight 17.5 inch-high SM15000 system.

Once these disks are interconnected with the fabric, they are seen and shared by all servers in the system.

Since this approach replaces expensive and complex NAS and SAN solutions with low-cost direct-attached storage, it ain't gonna be an exercise in friending NetApp or EMC. And if the customer wants, the disks can be SSDs.

Former SeaMicro CEO Andrew Feldman, now head of AMD's Data Center Server Solutions Group, says, "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 SM15000 system removes the constraints of traditional servers and allows data centers to expand compute, networking and storage independently."

"Historically," he reflects, "server architecture has focused on the processor, while storage and networking were afterthoughts. But increasingly cloud and Big Data customers are looking for a solution in which storage, networking and compute are in balance and are shared.

"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. AMD's SeaMicro SM15000 server enables companies, for the first time, to share massive amounts of storage across hundreds of efficient computing nodes in an exceptionally dense form factor. We believe that this will transform the data center compute and storage landscape."

The SM15000 and its extended fabric can be had immediately with Intel's E3-1260L Sandy Bridge Xeon and in November there will be compute cards fitted with a new Opteron based on the so-called Piledriver core, as well as the newly announced Intel Xeon E3-1265Lv2 Ivy Bridge processor.

The eight-core Opteron will come with clock rates of 2.0/2.3/2.8GHz supporting up to 64GB of DRAM per processor - 512 cores and more than 4TB of DRAM per system.

The Ivy Bridge is a 2.5/3.1GHz quad-core processor that supports 32 gigs of DRAM. A SeaMicro SM15000 server configured with 64 of the Xeons will have 256 cores and 2TB of DRAM or 1,024 cores in a standard rack.

The Opteron will support more external storage. Since a SM15000 server is 10 rack units tall, a one-rack four-system cluster provides 2,024 cores, 16TB of DRAM, and is capable of supporting 20PB of storage.

You can also figure on up to 64 SATA solid state or hard disk drives within the system; Freedom Fabric Storage with a capacity of up to 1,408 solid state or hard disk drives; and up to 16 10-gigabit Ethernet links or up to 64 one-gigabit Ethernet uplinks.

The SM15000 server has 16 fabric extender slots, each of which can connect to three different Freedom Fabric Storage arrays with different capacities:

  • FS 5084-L is an ultra-dense capacity-optimized storage system. It supports up to 84 SAS/SATA 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch drives in five rack units for up to 336TB of capacity per array and over 5PB per SM15000 system;
  • FS 2012-L is a capacity-optimized storage system. It supports up to 12 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch drives in two rack units for up to 48TB of capacity per array or up to 768TB of capacity per SM15000 system;
  • FS 2024-S is a performance-optimized storage system. It supports up to 24 2.5-inch drives in two rack units for up to 24TB of capacity per array or up to 384TB of capacity per SM15000.

The platforms are supposed to consume a quarter of the power, take up a sixth of the space and deliver 16 times the bandwidth of the servers typical of the giant farms that now dot the landscape. They also eliminate top-of-the-rack switching, load balancing, console servers and costly error-prone cabling.

The micro servers run off-the-shelf operating systems including Windows, Linux and Red Hat and support VMware and Citrix XenServer hypervisors. SeaMicro figures they're ideal for Big Data applications like Apache Hadoop and Cassandra for public and private cloud deployments.

Feldman said the SM15000, regardless of chip, starts at $139,000. Fully burdened they'd probably go for about a half-million dollars.

Intel and ARM are racing to catch up and Feldman expects them to have something credible by the second half of next year. If they do SeaMicro will put out versions of its widgetry that use them. Its fabric was developed to be processor-agnostic and is supposed to be the only fabric technology designed to work with CPUs that have both large and small cores, as well as x86 and non-x86 processors.

Until then SeaMicro can sell its servers direct - 500 accounts aren't many for 20 salesmen to handle - or they can go through OEMs if outfits like IBM, Dell and HP are interested. They're still in the talking stage.

SeaMicro's customers reportedly include France Telecom, Skype, Rogers Wireless, Mozilla, eHarmony, NTT Docomo and China Netcom.

SeaMicro's ASICs are made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing but the boxes are made in the USA.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Recently, WebRTC has a lot of eyes from market. The use cases of WebRTC are expanding - video chat, online education, online health care etc. Not only for human-to-human communication, but also IoT use cases such as machine to human use cases can be seen recently. One of the typical use-case is remote camera monitoring. With WebRTC, people can have interoperability and flexibility for deploying monitoring service. However, the benefit of WebRTC for IoT is not only its convenience and interopera...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
"Digital transformation - what we knew about it in the past has been redefined. Automation is going to play such a huge role in that because the culture, the technology, and the business operations are being shifted now," stated Brian Boeggeman, VP of Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...