AMD Finally Gets ARM-Based Server Chip to Market
There also have been some high-profile wins, including PayPal and Baidu, which are looking to bring AR-based systems into their environments. During the TechCon show, a Morgan Stanley official said the financial services firm was testing an application on a Cavium-based system, and HPE and EMC said they were building ARM-based storage systems and testing the SoCs in their labs. ARM is running its ARM.com Website on ARM-based systems. AMD's Opteron A1100—formerly code-named Seattle—was due out last year, but the vendor delayed the launch as it focused on its upcoming Zen chip architecture. In addition, the delay enabled AMD to allow the ecosystem around ARM chips—such as software and middleware—to mature, according to Dan Bounds, senior director of data center products and enterprise solutions at AMD. Both Bounds and Aylor said the ecosystem and chips themselves had reached a point where they are ready to compete in the data center. Ubuntu and Red Hat offer Linux operating systems for ARM, there are hypervisors like Xen and KVM, and groups like Linaro have built out the software offerings. AMD's A1100 is based on ARM's Cortex-A57 platform, and the portfolio will offer three SoCs that will feature four to eight cores, with up to 4MB of Level 2 cache and 8MB of L3 cache. They include two 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports, eight lanes of PCI-Express Gen 3 and 14 SATA-3 ports. In addition, the SoC includes a co-processor that leverages ARM's TrustZone security technology for such tasks as authentication and encryption.AMD also has on its road map a data center SoC that will include a custom ARM core. Dubbed K12, it is scheduled to launch next year.
AMD officials are aiming the Seattle chip at a number of use cases in the data center, including Web serving, networking, storage and software development. A number of vendors already are developing systems based on the SoC. SoftIron currently sells the OverDrive 3000 server, while BeaconWorks is working on a number of software-defined storage products. AMD is working with Silver Lining Systems to integrate the vendor's fabric technology into dense server designs powered by the Opteron A1100 for an array of workloads, from streaming to cloud storage to hyperscale data centers.