Welcome!

SOA & WOA Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Lori MacVittie, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Natalie Lerner

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

Virtualization: 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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, will discuss how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE), a global leader in embedded systems, today added 96 new products to the Spansion® FM4 Family of flexible microcontrollers (MCUs). Based on the ARM® Cortex®-M4F core, the new MCUs boast a 200 MHz operating frequency and support a diverse set of on-chip peripherals for enhanced human machine interfaces (HMIs) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. The rich set of periphera...

SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
Predicted by Gartner to add $1.9 trillion to the global economy by 2020, the Internet of Everything (IoE) is based on the idea that devices, systems and services will connect in simple, transparent ways, enabling seamless interactions among devices across brands and sectors. As this vision unfolds, it is clear that no single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the horizontal aspects of the IoE. The AllSeen Alliance, announced in December 2013, was formed with the goal to advance IoE adoption and innovation in the connected home, healthcare, education, aut...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
Be Among the First 100 to Attend & Receive a Smart Beacon. The Physical Web is an open web project within the Chrome team at Google. Scott Jenson leads a team that is working to leverage the scalability and openness of the web to talk to smart devices. The Physical Web uses bluetooth low energy beacons to broadcast an URL wirelessly using an open protocol. Nearby devices can find all URLs in the room, rank them and let the user pick one from a list. Each device is, in effect, a gateway to a web page. This unlocks entirely new use cases so devices can offer tiny bits of information or simple i...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
TechCrunch reported that "Berlin-based relayr, maker of the WunderBar, an Internet of Things (IoT) hardware dev kit which resembles a chunky chocolate bar, has closed a $2.3 million seed round, from unnamed U.S. and Switzerland-based investors. The startup had previously raised a €250,000 friend and family round, and had been on track to close a €500,000 seed earlier this year — but received a higher funding offer from a different set of investors, which is the $2.3M round it’s reporting."
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
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. Over the summer Gartner released its much anticipated annual Hype Cycle report and the big news is that Internet of Things has now replaced Big Data as the most hyped technology. Indeed, we're hearing more and more about this fascinating new technological paradigm. Every other IT news item seems to be about IoT and its implications on the future of digital busines...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The Internet of Things needs an entirely new security model, or does it? Can we save some old and tested controls for the latest emerging and different technology environments? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, will review hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal privacy options and a new risk balance you might not expect.
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, will discuss the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. The presentation will also discuss how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics to discuss are barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold.