By Jim Harrison
In what seems to me to be a very odd turn of events, AMD today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire SeaMicro, a pioneer in energy-efficient, high-bandwidth micro-servers.
The thing is SeaMicro uses Intel processors – lots of them. Its SM10000 systems uses 384 dual-core Atom processors and they recently introduced a system with 64 quad core Intel E3-1260L Sandy Bridge processors. SeaMicro crams hundreds of Intel’s low-power chips inside its specialty servers targeting high numbers of smaller workloads.
I talked with John Fruehe, director of product marketing for server, embedded, and Firestream products at AMD, who said they believe SeaMicro has fabric interconnect technology that ties all the systems together with better density and power efficiency for servers used in cloud computing. John said AMD did not plan on competing at the server level with its customers, but wanted to supply board level products and especially products making use of SeaMicro’s fabric design. He did not say Intels CPUs would be replaced with AMS ASAP – as I was expecting.
SeaMicro uses its “1.28 Terabits/sec Freedom Supercomputer Fabric” to connect all those CPUs. The sale cost AMD approximately $334 million, of which approximately $281 million will be paid in cash.