Welcome!

Linux Authors: Ignacio M. Llorente, Trevor Parsons, Tad Anderson, Andrew Phillips, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Virtualization, SOA & WOA, Linux, Open Source, Web 2.0, Cloud Expo

Virtualization: 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
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the real benefits to focus on, how to understand the requirements of a successful solution, the flow of ...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Focused on this fast-growing market’s needs, Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation (Nasdaq: VTSS), a leading provider of IC solutions to advance "Ethernet Everywhere" in Carrier, Enterprise and Internet of Things (IoT) networks, introduced its IStaX™ software (VSC6815SDK), a robust protocol stack to simplify deployment and management of Industrial-IoT network applications such as Industrial Ethernet switching, surveillance, video distribution, LCD signage, intelligent sensors, and metering equipment. Leveraging technologies proven in the Carrier and Enterprise markets, IStaX is designed to work ac...
C-Labs LLC, a leading provider of remote and mobile access for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced the appointment of John Traynor to the position of chief operating officer. Previously a strategic advisor to the firm, Mr. Traynor will now oversee sales, marketing, finance, and operations. Mr. Traynor is based out of the C-Labs office in Redmond, Washington. He reports to Chris Muench, Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Traynor brings valuable business leadership and technology industry expertise to C-Labs. With over 30 years' experience in the high-tech sector, John Traynor has held numerous...
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.