AMD is offering low-power, low-cost chips for Web hosting and cloud environments, which are looking for high-performance, energy-efficient servers for their data centers.
Advanced Micro Devices is rolling out a low-cost, low-power
Opteron chip aimed at Web hosting and cloud computing environments.
The Opteron 3200 family, which is being shown this week at
the World Hosting Day event in Germany, is AMDs latest effort to gain greater
traction in the booming hosting and cloud markets, where businesses are looking
for small, good-performing and highly energy-efficient servers.
It also dovetails with AMDs announcement last month of its
intentions to spend $334 million to buy SeaMicro, which makes microservers
using low-power x86-based chips and its own fabric interconnect architecture.
SeaMicro currently makes systems using Intels Atom processors, but its
expected AMD will migrate them to its own Opteron chips.
The new Opteron 3200 familywhich includes three chips that
offer four to eight cores, speeds ranging from 2.7GHz to 3.7GHz, thermal design
power of 45 to 65 watts, and various AMD-developed power-saving technologies,
such as Turbo Core and PowerNowwill give Web hosting companies a low-cost option
when considering microservers, according to John Fruehe, director of product
marketing for AMDs server group.
Web hosting companies buy and host servers. The hosting
companies run the servers in their own data centers so customers dont have to
worry about operating or maintaining the systems themselves. The customers pay
a monthly fee for a dedicated server, so for the hosting companies, the faster
those monthly fees cover the capital cost of the server, the faster they can
make money from them.
It really is a matter of economics, Fruehe told eWEEK.
In the hosting world, economics
rule the day.
Because of that, many hosting companies will opt for systems
powered by lower-cost PC chips, which dont offer all the enterprise-class
server features that Opterons do. The Opteron 3200 chips, which range in price
from $99 to $229, give the hosting companies and cloud computing environments a
new option, he said. By comparison, according to Fruehe, Intel chips start at
The Web hosting and cloud space accounts for about 15 percent
of total server revenues worldwide, and its also the fastest-growing segment
of the market, he said.
There is a lot of opportunity, Fruehe said. In this
IT-less world [of small and midsized businesses], servers are not disappearing.
Theyre just moving out of the business and into hosted data centers.
AMD already has begun shipping the Opteron 3200 to systems
makers, with platforms coming out from the likes of Dell, Fujitsu, MSI and
Tyan. He said AMD chose the World Hosting Day event on March 20 as the place to
announce the chips.
The Web hosting and cloud space is getting a lot of attention
from chip and server makers. Intel already had been pushing the microserver
segmentincluding through its partnership with SeaMicro. However, after AMD
announced its deal to buy the systems maker, Intel
dismissed its importance, noting its own internal work as well as
partnerships with the likes of Hewlett-Packard, Supermicro, NEC, Dell and
Hitachi. Analysts also said recent Intel acquisitions of networking vendors
give it the expertise to develop its own low-power fabric technology.
Intel is also likely disappointed [with the AMD-SeaMicro
deal], but its 2011 acquisition of 10GbE [10 Gigabit Ethernet] player Fulcrum
Microsystems and increasing focus on robust networking solutions means that
Intel may be able to respond with a competitive high-performance fabric
technology far sooner than many assume, Pund-IT Research principal analyst
Charles King wrote in a report earlier this month.
In addition, ARM Holdingswhose low-power non-x86 chip
designs are found in most smartphones and tabletsand manufacturing partners
such as Calxeda, Nvidia and Marvell Technology are working to push the
architecture up the ladder and into low-power servers. HP already is working
with Calxeda to develop ARM-based energy-efficient servers as part of its Project
AMDs Fruehe said offerings like the Opteron 3200 chips give
his company an edge over both Intel and ARM. The platform makes AMD a better
cost alternative to Intel, he said, while ARM designs still lack certain
enterprise-level featuresincluding 64-bit capabilities and a strong server
ecosystemthat both AMD and Intel offer.