AMD aims to leverage the OCP process for a wide range of server buyers. It showed at the summit the first boards based on its Open 3.0 platform, a spec contributed to OCP in May.
The boards are based on AMD’s 6300 processors and were developed in collaboration with 14 financial services companies including Fidelity. “A lot of customers I talk to like the OCP model,” said Bob Ogrey, an AMD fellow and cloud evangelist.
“After the first OCP summit in New York in October 2011, I sat down with some of the financial services people,” said Ogrey. “We met again in January 2012 with a draft spec and had multiple conference calls to review and revise the spec which was released at the OCP summit in San Antonio in May,” he added.
AMD will consider a similar board design for its 4300 series. It is also approaching server customers in other markets such as oil and gas with the designs.
The approach aims to lower the cost and simplify the management of servers by letting multiple vendors tag on to a single high volume design. The boards currently are made by two Taiwan ODMs, Qunta and Tyan, a division of Mitac.
The move effectively cuts branded server makers such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard out of the loop. They could offer to sell such boards, but it’s not clear what value they would add since their boards are also made by third-parties such as Quanta and Mitac.
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AMD's Open Compute 3.0 board is geared for financial services with a variant for Facebook.
The Open 3.0 motherboard measures 16 x 16.5 inches, uses two 6300 CPUs and comes in versions that fit into 1U, 2U and 3U high racks, depending on how many hard drives, DRAM cards and adapter boards they use. One variant of the board is geared for Facebook’s Open Rack servers.
Ogrey declined to comment on the Common Slot spec. AMD announced late lastyear it will ship ARM-based server SoCs in 2014.
Separately, Mellanox showed sat the summit CoolBox, an integrated networking subsystem geared for data centers. It includes a top-of-rack switch and a server network interface and supports 10-40 Gbit Ethernet and 10-56 Gbit Infiniband links.
I would welcome both the advancement of the ARM family into the server market and the open standards as well. I can't help but think that competition is good and will provide the end user with a better more cost effective systems solution. I wonder how quickly the 64 bit ARM offerings can come out and what initial impact to cost/performance they will have?
The timing is clear. Applied expects to sample widely late this year and everybody (6+ companies) will have something shipping or sampling in 2014.
Impact is less clear. This is a relatively small volume market where Intel has had $100+ ASPs that will likely now be closer to $20. Can you hear the gears grinding?
I think many underestimate the impact that silicon photonics could have. Silicon photonics will eventually allow for optical chip-to-chip data transfers that will drastically reduce energy consumption.
ARM is not doing much by themselves, other than proving some "good enough" stock chips. It's all the other companies who are using ARM that you should be looking at, and some of them even have their own custom ARM cores. Also HP is already using ARM servers, and they will probably expand on it.
ARM would appear to have a limited appeal for servers in the data center but for the fact it is an energy-sipping technology. Once 64-bit ARM chips are available, we'll see. Charlie Babcock, editor at large, InformationWeek
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