SeaMicro Behind 'Revolutionary' New Verizon Cloud Servers

AMD-owned SeaMicro says cloud server technology it developed with Verizon is more energy efficient and can be managed as easily as on-site hardware.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

October 7, 2013

2 Min Read

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Verizon is building out seven new cloud data centers using servers from its partner, SeaMicro, the energy-saving hardware designer that is now part of AMD. With the SeaMicro SM15000 servers, Verizon claims to be getting 50% more energy efficiency than a conventional design in one-third the formerly required space.

That's because the SeaMicro design puts a standard Intel or AMD chip on a credit-card-size motherboard along with a few other components, including an ASIC chip that has been programmed with SeaMicro's Supercomputer Fabric high-speed networking at 1.28 terabits per second.

Verizon engineers and SeaMicro's have worked on the SM15000 for the last two years, including in March 2012 when SeaMicro was acquired by AMD. The product is a package that fits into 10u of the standard 42u server rack, but contains 64 AMD Opteron servers, each with eight cores. It can also run Intel Sandy Bridge CPUs. The unit pools its disk drives as a shared resource for the virtual machines running on it.

The unit allows a greater degree of automation throughout the cloud data center and more enterprise-oriented service-level agreements than most public cloud suppliers, said Andrew Feldman, corporate VP and general manager of servers at AMD, in the announcement.

[ Want more on Verizon's infrastructure-as-a-service plans? Read Verizon Pushes Into Google, Amazon, Microsoft IaaS Territory. ]

"The technology we developed turns the cloud paradigm upside down by creating a service that an enterprise can configure and control as if the equipment were in its own data center," Feldman said. In an interview last week, John Considine, CTO of the Verizon Terremark cloud unit, said it was the more-dense hardware that will allow Verizon to launch its Cloud Compute and Cloud Storage services in the fourth quarter.

The high-speed networking and pooled resources of the SM15000 units will allow Verizon to offer storage services with defined quality of service. Each virtual server can be guaranteed up to 5,000 I/O operations per second, while most public clouds promise only "best effort" performance, which doesn't do anything about "noisy neighbors" performing lots of I/Os.

"Our collaboration with AMD enabled us to develop revolutionary technology," said Considine.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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