AMD Unleashes Opteron 4000 For Cloud Computing
Can microprocessors really be designed for cloud computing? AMD claims yes. The company’s latest CPU, the Opteron 4000, is specifically tailored for cloud-computing environments that demand power efficiency and cost-effectiveness over raw power, AMD says. Here’s a bit more on the strategy and the potential implications for VARs.
The AMD Opteron 4100 series has a mid-market target and a secondary target of living in the SMB market. AMD has designed the CPU with power and price in mind, looking to increase the value in the 2P computing space and deliver a true cloud-computing platform. AMD felt there was a need to compete in this space because — according to AMD — Intel doesn’t offer a mid-range CPU with all the bells and whistles needed for cloud computing, without the huge price point attached to the raw power server-level CPUs have.
So how’d they create this CPU? I spoke to Gina Longoria, senior product manager, Server Workstation at AMD. She explained that it’s the same chipset as the 6100, but a new socket. The 4100 series has a single die on a smaller package, unlike the 6100 Magny-Cours — which has two dies on a larger package. In regards to the power-saving functions, a drop in clock speed and a step down to a single die considerably helped.
Longoria stressed again, however, that the 4-6 core ‘fully featured’ CPU is unique and something that Intel isn’t offering at this time.
“Intel targets the 2-way space, server-market with one product; high-end performance. [Then they address the] power efficient side with just one product. We think we’re better able to offer two different products price points.”
Right now, the price tag per-cpu is under $100, something AMD focused on to increase performance and density for cloud and SMB deployments and for the 1 and 2P ‘Hyperscale Installations’. What’s more, AMD has designed the CPU for upgradability, since the socket design will be the same for the 2011 technology coming up.
As far as the channel goes, I spoke to Brent Barry, Senior Manager, North America Channel Marketing at AMD. He told me that many vendors are excited about the value this AMD CPU has the potential to offer since they feel the 4100 series is a unique offering. Cloud is booming, but the price tag isn’t dropping, and AMD thinks the 4100 will be a special way to not just be an entry-level device but a true performer in this specific niche.