Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Flint Brenton, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Nate Vickery, Liz McMillan

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
Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the USA and Europe, we work with a variety of customers from emerging startups to Fortune 1000 companies.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up 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. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
@ThingsExpo has been named the Most Influential ‘Smart Cities - IIoT' Account and @BigDataExpo has been named fourteenth by Right Relevance (RR), which provides curated information and intelligence on approximately 50,000 topics. In addition, Right Relevance provides an Insights offering that combines the above Topics and Influencers information with real time conversations to provide actionable intelligence with visualizations to enable decision making. The Insights service is applicable to eve...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, 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 strategy.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Analytic. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software in the hope of capturing value in IoT. Although IoT is relatively new in the market, it has already gone through many promotional terms such as IoE, IoX, SDX, Edge/Fog, Mist Compute, etc. Ultimately, irrespective of the name, it is about deriving value from independent software assets participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution.
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices 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 business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Cybersecurity is a critical component of software development in many industries including medical devices. However, code is not always written to be robust or secure from the unknown or the unexpected. This gap can make medical devices susceptible to cybersecurity attacks ranging from compromised personal health information to life-sustaining treatment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Clark Fortney, Software Engineer at Battelle, will discuss how programming oversight using key methods can incre...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi, the leading provider the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help globa...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Val...