Welcome!

Open Source Authors: Nikita Ivanov, Victoria Livschitz, Amy Lindberg, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez

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
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.
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
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 ...
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
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 @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed 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.
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...
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 ...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, 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 widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
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...
The 3rd International Internet of @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 its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
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.
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
"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.
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...
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
There's Big Data, then there's really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, discussed how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines...
The 3rd International Internet of @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 its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.