Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Dana Gardner, Pat Romanski, PagerDuty Blog, JP Morgenthal, Amit Golander

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
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
The IoT has the potential to create a renaissance of manufacturing in the US and elsewhere. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Florent Solt, CTO and chief architect of Netvibes, will discuss how the expected exponential increase in the amount of data that will be processed, transported, stored, and accessed means there will be a huge demand for smart technologies to deliver it. Florent Solt is the CTO and chief architect of Netvibes. Prior to joining Netvibes in 2007, he co-founded Rift Technol...
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratoscale, the software company developing the next generation data center operating system, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Stratoscale is revolutionizing the data center with a zero-to-cloud-in-minutes solution. With Stratoscale’s hardware-agnostic, Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) solution to store everything, run anything and scale everywhere...
Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified – now it's a component-based well-performing framework. This immersive one-day workshop at 18th Cloud Expo, led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay, will provide you with everything you wanted to know about Angular 2.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...