Following the launch of the Opteron X Series "Kyoto" processor, on Monday AMD revealed its plans to recapture market share in enterprise and data centers with a lineup of new products and a roadmap leading into the back half of 2014. This includes a server portfolio packed with the x86 "Berlin" APU and 1P CPUs, two-and four-socket "Warsaw" CPUs, and its upcoming ARM-based "Seattle" 64-bit server chip.
"Our strategy is to differentiate ourselves by using our unique IP to build server processors that are particularly well matched to a target workload and thereby drive down the total cost of owning servers. This strategy unfolds across both the enterprise and data centers and includes leveraging our graphics processing capabilities and embracing both x86 and ARM instruction sets," said Andrew Feldman, general manager of the Server Business Unit, AMD. "AMD led the world in the transition to multicore processors and 64-bit computing, and we intend to do it again with our next-generation AMD Opteron families."
For starters, the "Berlin" APU and 1P 28 nm CPUs will be made available in the first half of 2014. They feature four "Steamroller" 64-bit x86 cores and offer up nearly 8x the gigaflops per-watt compared to the current AMD Opteron 6386SE processor. The APU version also includes next generation Radeon GPU cores with video decode offload, video compression offload and I/O memory management. It will also be the first server APU based on the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HAS) which allows the GPU and CPU cores to access a single pool of memory (aka no more copy-pasting back and forth).
Next up is the 32 nm "Warsaw" enterprise server CPU for two- and four-socket solutions. Slated to be released in Q1 2014, it will not only show improved performance over the existing Opteron 6300 family, but provide a seamless migration from the older series thanks to being a fully compatible socket with identical software certifications. With upgrade options to 12 and 16 highly-optimized "Piledriver" cores OPNs, this chip will be ideal for the AMD Open 3.0 server, the industry's most cost effective Open Compute processor platform per core. Expect to see "double digit" reductions in power regarding these new optimized "Piledriver" cores at any given clock rate.
Finally we have the "Seattle" server 28 nm CPU which will hit the market sometime in 2014, a 64-bit chip that is actually based on ARM's architecture, not x86. AMD acknowledged that over time, ARM will actually win substantial server share, and in the history of compute, smaller, lower cost, higher volume CPUs have always won. Even more, over 8 billion ARM-based chips were shipped in 2012 while more than 13 million x86 server CPUs were shipped in the same timeframe. Thus, this chip is a result of AMD jumping on that profitable bandwagon, and who can blame them.
The "Seattle" chip is based on ARM Cortex-A57 cores that will run at 2 GHz and higher, offering 2 to 4x the performance of AMD's just-announced AMD Opteron X-Series processor, and a significant improvement in compute per watt. The SoC will initially be offered with 8 cores and then 16 cores sometime thereafter, both supporting 64 GB of DRAM. These chips will also feature extensive offload engines for better power efficiency and reduced CPU loading, integrated 10GbE for legacy networking, and integrated AMD Freedom Fabric for dense compute systems. They will also have a high port-count storage interface optimized for big data. AMD plans to sample "Seattle" in the first quarter of 2014 with production in the second half of the year.
In summary, the AMD Opteron 6300 and 4300 Series CPU will continue to serve the 2P and 4P enterprise and Mainstream platforms until sometime around the end of 1Q14 where AMD will introduce the "Warsaw" CPU. For the 1P Web/Enterprise services clusters, the AMD Opteron 3300 Series CPU will continue to serve this sector until 2014 when AMD introduces the "Berlin" CPU and APUs. Additionally, the "Seattle" CPU will succeed the AMD Opteron X1150 CPU and X2150 APU in the same market.
The "Berlin" and "Seattle" chips will be focused on cloud gaming, VDI/hosted desktops, video transcoding and streaming, Apache Hadoop and Cassandra, hosting, static/dynamic and mem cached workloads. The "Warsaw" solution will target data analytics, high performance computing, xSQL and traditional databases, and server consolidation.
2014 will actually be an exciting year for the server market, and AMD will undoubtedly play a big part.
Kevin Parrish is a contributing editor and writer for Tom's Hardware,Tom's Games and Tom's Guide. He's also a graphic artist, CAD operator and network administrator.
See here for all of Kevin's Tom's IT Pro articles.
Images courtesy of AMD.