Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: XebiaLabs Blog, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Derek Weeks, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Open Source Cloud, Agile Computing

Containers Expo Blog: Article

AMD to Build 64-Bit ARM Chips, Says It’s an Inflection Point

AMD has never veered from its x86 course before but believes its shift will be “seminal”

AMD has hinted for months that it was going to adopt the ARM architecture and last week in the middle of a blackout that turned New York and the stock market dark it disclosed its plans to make ARM's smartphone and tablet widgetry into a server platform for use in the cloud and mighty data centers the likes of Amazon's.

AMD has never veered from its x86 course before but believes its shift will be "seminal."

CEO Rory Read said, "There's no doubt the cloud changes everything. The cloud truly is the killer app that's unlocking the future."

In making the announcement the company recalled the sweeping success of its so-called x64 Opteron server design that sealed the coffin of Intel's Itanium chip nearly a decade ago, forced Intel to copy the junior member of the processor duopoly and briefly gave little AMD server leadership.

It figures what it did once it can do again - provided it lasts long enough to produce the thing.

AMD is suffering a serious shortage of money and is currently slashing about 15% of its workforce to contain costs. Against falling revenues, it's only got $1.48 billion in the bank and debts of $2.04 billion.

It also needs to avoid its usual production problems.

It estimates it will take it until 2014 - figure maybe 18 months if not three to five years - to create a 64-bit version of the ARM, a highly integrated multi-core System-on-a-Chip (SoC) optimized for dense energy-efficient server farms.

AMD says the newfangled Opteron processor will use the SeaMicro Freedom supercompute fabric it acquired when it bought the microserver start-up for $334 million in March.

The SeaMicro interconnect currently supports Intel's x86 Atom and Xeon chips and AMD indicated the fabric will be made to support Opteron-, ARM- and x86-based processors so that hundreds or even thousands of processor clusters can be linked together in the name of energy efficiency and cost consciousness.

Evidently AMD's so-called "ambidextrous architecture" is supposed to span both the x86 and ARM ecosystems.

AMD said it will be strategically collaborating with ARM, which planned to have a 64-bit server design ready by 2014. The widgetry was subsequently identified as the Cortex-A50. AMD will be using ARM's off-the-shelf cores, not designing its own, for roughly 1.8% of sales.

Other A50 licensees include Broadcom, Calxeda, HiSilicon, Samsung and STMicroelectronics.

Amazon, Dell, Facebook and Red Hat turned up at last week's announcement and ARM suggested that AMD would have a "transformational effect."

Dell claimed ARM could be "a serious player in areas like web front-end servers and as a worker node in a Hadoop environment. AMD's opportunity is to deliver serious value in performance-per-dollar and performance-per watt-where low-power server platforms running massively scale-out workloads can shine. The availability of 64-bit ARM solutions is an essential milestone needed to accelerate enterprise adoption of this technology."

Intel is putting its money on trying to match the ARM with the Atom. It's planning to have its own 22nm Avoton microserver SoC ready next year. It will reportedly use two-eight Silvermont Atom cores, dissipate 5W-20W, and integrate SATA, gigabit Ethernet, USB and DDR3/DDR3L support.

So AMD will still be hounded by the Intel goliath along with other ARM rivals and, since microservers are regarded as a niche market, potentially worth maybe 5% of the overall server market in the next few years, one might be skeptical about how much revenue AMD can derive from it. ARM CEO Warren East, however, claims ARM microservers could be 20% of the data center market by 2020.

Worldwide PC sales were down 8% year-over-year in Q3 and AMD doesn't have much of a server footprint anymore or a mobile one.

One can only assume that AMD might ultimately enter the tablet market.

HP, still the biggest of the server vendors for all its agony, is teamed with Calxeda on ARM-based microservers and appears to be backing AMD as well.

Calxeda, which intends to be able to scale up to 100,000 nodes in a single cluster without having to add any external switches and has three 64-bit chips on its roadmap that could produce a million node cluster, is ironically financed by Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), which now owns AMD's old ovens, the Globalfoundries chip fab.

Applied Micro Circuits (AMC) is also in this race.

And it looks like Red Hat has a chief ARM architect on staff, one Jon Masters, who says the company will share its Linux expertise with AMD and support ARM in a future release of Fedora, the freebie version of its distribution.

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.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
When scaling agile / Scrum, we invariable run into the alignment vs autonomy problem. In short: you cannot have autonomous self directing teams if they have no clue in what direction they should go, or even shorter: Alignment breeds autonomy. But how do we create alignment? and what tools can we use to quickly evaluate if what we want to do is part of the mission or better left out? Niel Nickolaisen created the Purpose Alignment model and I use it with innovation labs in large enterprises to de...
Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addres...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...
Analysis of 25,000 applications reveals 6.8% of packages/components used included known defects. Organizations standardizing on components between 2 - 3 years of age can decrease defect rates substantially. Open source and third-party packages/components live at the heart of high velocity software development organizations. Today, an average of 106 packages/components comprise 80 - 90% of a modern application, yet few organizations have visibility into what components are used where.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Tintri VM-aware storage is the simplest for virtualized applications and cloud. Organizations including GE, Toyota, United Healthcare, NASA and 6 of the Fortune 15 have said “No to LUNs.” With Tintri they mana...
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, will compare the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, e...
Throughout history, various leaders have risen up and tried to unify the world by conquest. Fortunately, none of their plans have succeeded. The world goes on just fine with each country ruling itself; no single ruler is necessary. That’s how it is with the container platform ecosystem, as well. There’s no need for one all-powerful, all-encompassing container platform. Think about any other technology sector out there – there are always multiple solutions in every space. The same goes for conta...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
Let's recap what we learned from the previous chapters in the series: episode 1 and episode 2. We learned that a good rollback mechanism cannot be designed without having an intimate knowledge of the application architecture, the nature of your components and their dependencies. Now that we know what we have to restore and in which order, the question is how?
Whether they’re located in a public, private, or hybrid cloud environment, cloud technologies are constantly evolving. While the innovation is exciting, the end mission of delivering business value and rapidly producing incremental product features is paramount. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Kiran Chitturi, CTO Architect at Sungard AS, will discuss DevOps culture, its evolution of frameworks and technologies, and how it is achieving maturity. He will also cover various st...
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes ho...
SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, a leading provider of middleware modernization, integration, and management solutions, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware evolution products and services that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the protocols that communicate data and the emerging data analy...
Large enterprises today are juggling an enormous variety of network equipment. Business users are asking for specific network throughput guarantees when it comes to their critical applications, legal departments require compliance with mandated regulatory frameworks, and operations are asked to do more with shrinking budgets. All these requirements do not easily align with existing network architectures; hence, network operators are continuously faced with a slew of granular parameter change req...
Monitoring of Docker environments is challenging. Why? Because each container typically runs a single process, has its own environment, utilizes virtual networks, or has various methods of managing storage. Traditional monitoring solutions take metrics from each server and applications they run. These servers and applications running on them are typically very static, with very long uptimes. Docker deployments are different: a set of containers may run many applications, all sharing the resource...
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of So...