Agile Computing Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, John Mertic, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

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.

@ThingsExpo Stories
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, 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. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Streamlyzer 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. Streamlyzer is a powerful analytics for video streaming service that enables video streaming providers to monitor and analyze QoE (Quality-of-Experience) from end-user devices in real time.
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Cloud based infrastructure deployment is becoming more and more appealing to customers, from Fortune 500 companies to SMEs due to its pay-as-you-go model. Enterprise storage vendors are able to reach out to these customers by integrating in cloud based deployments; this needs adaptability and interoperability of the products confirming to cloud standards such as OpenStack, CloudStack, or Azure. As compared to off the shelf commodity storage, enterprise storages by its reliability, high-availabil...
The IoT industry is now at a crossroads, between the fast-paced innovation of technologies and the pending mass adoption by global enterprises. The complexity of combining rapidly evolving technologies and the need to establish practices for market acceleration pose a strong challenge to global enterprises as well as IoT vendors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Clark Smith, senior product manager for Numerex, will discuss how Numerex, as an experienced, established IoT provider, has embraced a ...
The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
Donna Yasay, President of HomeGrid Forum, today discussed with a panel of technology peers how certification programs are at the forefront of interoperability, and the answer for vendors looking to keep up with today's growing industry for smart home innovation. "To ensure multi-vendor interoperability, accredited industry certification programs should be used for every product to provide credibility and quality assurance for retail and carrier based customers looking to add ever increasing num...
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
“Media 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. CloudBerry Backup is a leading cross-platform cloud backup and disaster recovery solution integrated with major public cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, will discuss how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team a...
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...
What are the successful IoT innovations from emerging markets? What are the unique challenges and opportunities from these markets? How did the constraints in connectivity among others lead to groundbreaking insights? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Carmen Feliciano, a Principal at AMDG, will answer all these questions and share how you can apply IoT best practices and frameworks from the emerging markets to your own business.
Big Data has been changing the world. IoT fuels the further transformation recently. How are Big Data and IoT related? In his session at @BigDataExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will explore the interplay of Big Data and IoT. He will anatomize Big Data and IoT separately in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. He will then analyze the relationship between IoT and Big Data, specifically the drilldown of how the 4Vs of Big Data (Volume, Variety,...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions 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. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
The Internet of Things 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 and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
A completely new computing platform is on the horizon. They’re called Microservers by some, ARM Servers by others, and sometimes even ARM-based Servers. No matter what you call them, Microservers will have a huge impact on the data center and on server computing in general. Although few people are familiar with Microservers today, their impact will be felt very soon. This is a new category of computing platform that is available today and is predicted to have triple-digit growth rates for some ...