AMD's recently-acquired SeaMicro division has announced its latest high-performance computing products, putting the company in the somewhat odd position of selling products based around rival Intel's chips.
AMD acquired SeaMicro back in March for $334 million
following the company's worrying trend of producing high-performance, low-power servers based on rival Intel's Atom processor lines
. It was a big cash purchase, putting AMD well in the red for the quarter
, but a gamble the company was willing to take in its efforts to claw back market share in the data centre.
Just because SeaMicro is now AMD SeaMicro doesn't mean it's giving up on its old product lines, and the company's latest creation is available in two flavours. The first is, naturally, the recommended configuration, comprising as it does 64 Opteron octo-core processors running at speeds of up to 2.8GHz and packing 4TB of RAM. The second, however, may come as a surprise: a version with 64 3.1GHz Intel Ivy Bridge-based quad-core Xeon chips and supporting up to 2TB of RAM.
Just in case you can't quite believe what you've read, let's put it another way: AMD is now selling Intel processors.
Described as the first microserver to support Ivy Bridge Xeons, the AMD SeaMicro SM15000 offers 256 processing cores and up to 2TB of RAM along with up to SeaMicro's patented Freedom Fabric storage array technology in a 10U rack-mount chassis. By default, the system includes support for 64 internal SATA drives, but this can be expanded using the Freedom Fabric interconnect system to connect the server to up to 1,408 drives. Network connectivity is offered through up to 16 10-gig-E links or 64 gigabit Ethernet links.
In other words: it's a beast of a system.
Clearly, AMD is positioning the Intel version below the Opteron-based equivalent: with half the logical processors and a maximum of 2TB to the Opteron version's 4TB of RAM, those looking to make the most of their 10U rack space will be plumping for AMD's version.
That leaves those on a tighter budget looking at the Intel-powered version, and puts AMD in a somewhat difficult position: the more SM15000 units its SeaMicro division sells the better, but the more Intel chips it helps to shift the harder it will be for AMD's chip division to win much-needed market share from its giant rival.