AMD Launches 16-, 12-Core Opteron Server Chips
Advanced Micro Devices is rolling out two new Opteron server chips that offer 12 and 16 cores and are aimed at virtualized workloads in enterprise and cloud environments.
The x86 12-core Opteron 6338P and 16-core 6370P, previously codenamed "Warsaw" and launched Jan. 22, are part of AMD's larger Opteron 6300 family of processors and are based on the company's "Piledriver" core architecture. They're designed to help enterprises run such workloads as data analysis and traditional databases while offering significant performance-per-watt, per-dollar advantages, according to company officials.
"For customers deploying hundreds or thousands of servers, the little details add up, and AMD designed the AMD Opteron 6338P and 6370P in response to customer feedback," Lawrence Latif, manager of technical communications at AMD, said in a post on the company blog site. "Customers wanted a high-performance, power-efficient and cost-effective enterprise-grade processor that meets the growing requirements of virtualized workloads, such as complex data analysis and xSQL database servers—exactly what AMD Opteron 6338P and 6370P are best at."
Both have a power band at 99 watts, which is lower than other chips in the Opteron 6300 family. The 6370P runs at 2.0GHz and is priced at $598, while the 6338P's frequency is at 2.3GHz and costs $377.
AMD officials are looking to make it easier for enterprises to adopt the chips by keeping them socket and software compatible with previous chips in the 6300 series, according to Latif. Organizations that want to bring the new Opterons in to their data centers can simply replace older chips with the newer Warsaw products, rather than having to remove entire systems and bring in new ones.
"For many enterprises, 'rip-and-replace' is not a viable option, so our goal is to extend the useful life of existing infrastructures," he wrote in the blog post.
In addition, AMD also is taking aim at companies that run massive data centers—such as Facebook and Google—by making the chips compatible with the chip maker's Open 3.0 platform. AMD in 2012 introduced its Open 3.0 platform as part of the larger Open Compute initiative led by Facebook to create more open and energy-efficient data center systems. Officials with the chip maker said the goal of AMD's platform was to make it easier for IT professionals to customize their systems based on workloads. In January 2013, AMD introduced its Open 3.0 server motherboard.
The Opteron 6338P and 6370P are available from Penguin and Avnet and can be used in servers from Sugon and Supermicro.
The new chips come as AMD also is gearing up to release the first of its ARM-based 64-bit chips for low-power servers later this year. During a Jan. 21 conference call with analysts and journalists to talk about its fourth-quarter financial numbers, AMD executives said the company will begin sampling its ARM-based server systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) this quarter, and that the company's efforts are gaining interest from a range of organizations. Hewlett-Packard officials already have said they will incorporate ARM-based SoCs from AMD and other vendors into HP's energy-efficient Moonshot microservers.
Some analysts have questioned whether the microserver space can become anything more than a niche in the overall server market. Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of AMD's global business units, said during the conference call that "the opportunity is definitely there. We’ve always said that ARM is a longer-term opportunity in terms of how it folds into the server market, but what we’ve seen is continued interest in our ARM product portfolio, not just from traditional server vendors, but also from some of the cloud vendors."