AMD to acquire microserver vendor SeaMicro--a user of Intel chips

Advanced Micro Devices will acquire server vendor SeaMicro in an attempt to make a run at Intel in the microserver market.

AMD said it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire SeaMicro, a company that supplies energy-efficient microservers, for approximately $334 million.

To date, SeaMicro servers have been using Intel's Atom and Xeon processors. Future plans call for SeaMicro to build servers with AMD's Opteron chips.

"AMD plans to offer the first AMD Opteron processor-based solutions that combine AMD and SeaMicro technology in the second half of 2012. The company remains firmly committed to its traditional server … Read more

SeaMicro brawns up the microserver

Startup SeaMicro first packed lots of low-end Atom processors into servers to save power and space. Now Intel's beefy Xeon server chips are also getting the low-power treatment.

SeaMicro today announced its SM 10000-XE server, which it claims is the most energy-efficient Xeon server ever built. It consumes one half the power of a server with comparable computing muscle, takes one third of the space, and increases the available bandwidth twelve times, the company said.

The company is one of few companies that have taken a radical approach to server design by using arrays of less powerful processors, called &… Read more

Start-up launches DOE-backed green server

Start-up SeaMicro has launched a green server based on Intel's power-sipping Atom processor. The company is backed by about $25 million in venture capital and a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

SeaMicro's SM10000 packs 512 Intel Atom processors, storage, interconnect technology, and server management into a relatively compact 17.5-inch-high server. The size is referred to as 10 RU, or rack unit (1 RU equals 1.75 inches). This design saves lots of energy, reducing power consumption by 75 percent, according to SeaMicro.

In a radical departure from standard server architectures, the start-up selected Intel's Atom, a processor most commonly used in Netbooks--tiny laptops. The chip was designed by Intel to be its most power-efficient chip.

Atom, however, was not designed with servers in mind, though SeaMicro believes it has found a niche. "In the Internet data center, the challenge is to handle millions of relatively small, independent tasks like those needed for searching, social networking, viewing web pages, and checking email," SeaMicro said in a statement.

SeaMicro claims there is a mismatch between Internet server design and current central processing units or CPUs. "Volume servers failed to adapt to this fundamental change and remain optimized for (for more traditional server tasks). This mismatch between volume servers and the now dominant Internet workload is the primary cause of the rapid increase in server power consumption and is responsible for the multi-billion dollar power problem in the data center," SeaMicro said.

Three primary technology innovations define the system, according to SeaMicro:

Smaller circuit board: A patented technique in CPU I/O (input/output) virtualization, which reduces non-CPU power draw by eliminating 90 percent of the components from the motherboard. This CPU I/O virtualization allows SeaMicro to shrink a server motherboard from the size of a pizza box to the size of a credit card. Power-efficient interconnect: A supercomputer-style interconnect fabric that can link 512 mini-motherboards into a single system, reducing power draw and space. This fabric provides 1.28 terabits per-second throughput,… Read more