Cores in the cloud: Does brawny or wimpy win?

The number of servers in the cloud continues to grow, but should those servers use brawny cores filled with raw power or lightweight wimpy cores? Infrastructure planning requires both, says Jason Waxman from Intel: As the cloud to evolves, a wide range of chips are needed.

Server catfight! Intel disses AMD’s SeaMicro buy

Intel and AMD are at it again. Intel could have bought SeaMicro, the energy efficient server vendor that recently got snapped up by AMD, but it decided to pass, said Diane Bryant, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Datacenter and Connected Systems Group.

Today in Cleantech

Stacey Higginbothom at GigaOM reported yesterday that embattled chipmaker, AMD, was acquiring low power server maker, SeaMicro. It’s the first smart move I’ve seen AMD make in some time. SeaMicro is a server maker actively trying to penetrate the microserver market for webscale applications and cloud computing with its low power servers. It’s tech relies on an integrated fabric switch to lower power consumption and it’s CEO, Andrew Feldman, has said time and again that he’s chip and architecture agnostic. Meaning, it’ll be no problem building servers with AMD chips (SeaMicro currently uses Intel Atom and Xeon chips), not to mention the possibility of Linux based Tilera chips or, more likely, ARM chips. The deal diversifies AMD’s offerings and mindset, and is a great move.

Today in Cleantech

There’s a lot of excitement this morning as SeaMicro announced that it would be building microservers with 256 Xeon processor cores. SeaMicro had historically gone with Atom processors but ultimately felt it needed the clock speed of Xeon chips to go after the cloud market. There’s an obvious tradeoff in terms of power consumption, as the Xeon cores will draw more power. SeaMicro’s strategy is to offer a comparative advantage over the big server manufacturers by engineering an integrated fabric switch that lowers the overall power draw of the server. It’s an interesting tact, going with Xeon chips, and if SeaMicro can price these server competitively, this could become the first low power Xeon server configuration to compete with mainstream offerings from the likes of HP and IBM.

Don’t call it a wimpy node: SeaMicro rethinks the server for webscale

SeaMicro, the startup that built out a business in the low-power, microserver market, is taking its server architecture mainstream by adding Intel’s Xeon chips inside its boxes. This is a fundamental rethinking of how servers are built to respond to the needs of webscale operators.

Intel’s next big wireless play: It’s not smartphones

Intel’s wireless ambitions go beyond smartphones and tablets. It’s set its sights on the guts of the mobile network as well. By embracing a new network design concept called Cloud-RAN, Intel believes it can reshape wireless networks to make the best use of its chips.

Bill Gates says TerraPower is in discussions with China

Bill Gates says the nuclear startup TerraPower that he has backed is in preliminary discussions with the Chinese government, as well as the governments of Russia, India and other countries, too. TerraPower will most likely commercialize its tech outside the U.S. first.

Today in Cloud

Perhaps hoping to put the Oracle-instigated Itanium fuss behind it, Intel yesterday revamped their high performance Xeon chip line. Big names such as Cray also came out to back the 29 chips in the line, one of which features in the Cray CX1000 supercomputer. With so many chips on offer Intel clearly hopes to dominate the entire server market, from the world of the CX1000 down to the humble back office email server. AMD, Oracle, IBM and others are unlikely to let Intel walk all over their markets, of course… and the large number of chips could conceivably work against Intel if they and their resellers fail to tell compelling and differentiated stories about the different products in the range.

Today in Cleantech

How does Intel follow up last year’s splashy debut of its 45nm Nehalem-based Xeon 5500 server chips? By touting energy efficiency, virtualization and the cloud-friendly capabilities of its 32nm “Gulftown” successors. In today’s launch, Intel is making a concerted effort to paint the Xeon 5600 as the go-to chip for green computing and the engine for massive server consolidation projects. According to Intel’s math, one six-core Xeon 5600 series server can replace up to 15 single-core relics, resulting in a return of investment in just five months. As for AMD, we’ll have to wait to see how its upcoming “Magny-Cours” processors stack up.