Business, Cloud Computing, Enterprise, Hardware

Verizon Deploys AMD SeaMicro Systems for Novel Cloud Services

On Friday Verizon announced their new cloud services Verizon Cloud Compute and Verizon Cloud Storage, with the public beta starting in the fourth quarter of the year. Today AMD and Verizon jointly announced that AMDs Seamicro SM15000 system is being deployed as part of the new infrastructure Verizon puts into their datacenters. We actually had a unique opportunity earlier this year to get a tour of Verizon’s own NOCC for San Diego and Imperial Counties where some of these systems might be housed.

Verizon’s cloud services are aimed at enterprise customers and try to offer capabilities previously unseen in the cloud ecosystem. While to people familiar with cloud computing, the basic service descriptions read very akin to what is available in the majority of the public cloud markets, it is the details that make the difference. Cloud Compute is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering, whereas Cloud Storage is an object storage service. Both types of services are widely deployed in the market by different companies. The main difference is the level of control Verizon plans to offer. The following slide details the configuration options that are available by Verizon’s cloud services.

Seamicro technology, which AMD acquired in 2012, was instrumental in enabling this new generation of cloud services, as the press releases of both companies put it. Verizon not only took a off-the-shelf SM15000 system, but invested two years of development into customized hardware and software to make their cloud vision happen. To enable their plans, AMD opened up their IP to them to give them further opportunities for customization. Due to the fabric interconnect technology, Verizon was able to provision virtual machines in a more fine-grained manner and much more quickly while high storage performance in terms of IOPS and high guaranteed network throughput ensure SLA compliance on a high level. Last but not least AMDs fabric also allows for programmable controls of certain aspects of the hardware, that isn’t available elsewhere.

The following Youtube video includes quotes of company representatives and gives an overview of both the service and the deployed technologies.

For AMD gaining Verizon as a customer is certainly a big win for the company. AMD has recently struggled to keep a foothold in the enterprise space. While the launch of the Opteron processors and their introduction of 64-bit computing into the x86 world was a huge success over a decade ago, since then AMD has lost the performance crown to Intel again. Through the acquisition of unique IP such as the SeaMicro Freedom Fabric, AMD is able to address the needs of customers that wouldn’t be accessible to them without such technology.

Around IDF we got the opportunity to talk to Andrew Feldman personally and were able to gain some insights about where the SeaMicro Freedom fabric will go in the future. In the near future the company plans to update it’s outside connectivity to PCI Express 3.0 to basically double the available bandwidth. This will help keep the fabric relevant going into the future as bandwidth requirements increase to sustain scalability to larger workloads, datasets and the ever increasing number of cores per CPU. The Freedom fabric will also be instrumental in pushing CPU architectures without a shared-memory interconnect such as HyperTransport into servers. This includes AMDs x86 APUs as well as future ARMv8 based SoCs.

The SM15000-OP as seen by us when we discussed these technologies with Andrew Feldman around IDF.