AMD heads for microserver push with SeaMicro buy
March 1, 2012 // 1:20 p.m.
AMD has announced plans to strengthen its low-power server offerings with the purchase of microserver specialist SeaMicro in a deal valued at $334 million.
The move is a clear indication that, while it continues to flounder on the desktop, AMD clearly sees a future for its Bulldozer architecture and subsequent successors in the server room. It's also interesting in another respect: SeaMicro has previously been a near-exclusive Intel shop, producing low-power microservers based on processors from AMD's biggest competitor.
'By acquiring SeaMicro, we are accelerating AMD's transformation into an agile, disruptive innovator capable of staking a data centre leadership position,' claimed Rory Read, AMD's president and chief executive officer, in a statement regarding the deal. 'SeaMicro is a pioneer in low-power server technology. The unmatched combination of AMD's processing capabilities, SeaMicro's system and fabric technology, and our ambidextrous technology approach uniquely positions AMD with a compelling, differentiated position to attack the fastest growing segment of the server market.'
SeaMicro's products are based on a innovative interconnect fabric which allows thousands of processor cores, memory, storage and networking IO subsystems to communicate efficiently and scale to vast heights. Using its current-generation - Intel-based, mind - technology, a SeaMicro server typically offers those with compatible workloads a server drawing a quarter of the power and taking up a sixth the space of a traditional server. Performance, however, is vastly improved: per processing core, SeaMicro's infrastructure delivers a claimed 12 times boost in bandwidth.
'Cloud computing has brought a sea change to the data center - dramatically altering the economics of compute by changing the workload and optimal characteristics of a server,' boasted SeaMicro's chief executive Andrew Feldman, who will become general manager of AMD's newly created Data Center Server Solutions business when the deal is approved. 'SeaMicro was founded to dramatically reduce the power consumed by servers, while increasing compute density and bandwidth. By becoming a part of AMD, we will have access to new markets, resources, technology, and scale that will provide us with the opportunity to work tightly with our OEM partners as we fundamentally change the server market.'
AMD has been quick to point out to press that SeaMicro's technology is compatible with multiple processor architectures, providing more fuel for rumours of a tie-up between AMD and British low-power chip giant ARM on ultra-efficient server chips.
The deal will set AMD back $281 million in cash from its existing reserves, with the remainder paid in stock.