Fabric gets storage connection: AMD introduces new SeaMicro chassis

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And SeaMicro certainly has the chutzpah to support not only its upcoming "Piledriver" Opterons under the new owner, but also the latest "Ivy Bridge" eXeons (E3-1200 v2) as Compute Nodes in the SM15000. The second important innovation of the new chassis is the fact that its three-dimensional mesh / torus interconnect "Freedom" is now outbound and can connect up to 5 petabytes of disk space as a de facto virtual SAN (Storage Area Network).

The Opteron card for the new SeaMicro server was no longer a surprise anyway - AMD CTO Mark Papermaster had already presented it two weeks ago at the Hot Chips 24 conference. It supports according to a report of the British branch service "The Register" either the Opteron 3300 (actually for single-Socket server) or the 4300 (up to Dual Socket).

The AMD CPUs clock at 2 gigahertz, 2.3 GHz or 2.8 GHz; each Piledriver node holds up to 64 GB of main memory (making 8 GB per processor core). Overall, the SM15000 chassis fits 64 server modules, which connect to the midplane via PCI Express.

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The SM15000 chassis accommodates 512 cores and 4 terabytes of memory in 10U and 2048 16TB cores in one rack. This is only possible because the SeaMicro engineers have extricated any unnecessary joule of energy out of the system; as Timothy Prickett writes tomorrow at "El Reg" to create more thermal space for the processors.

And as you said, you do not necessarily have to use AMD CPUs. SeaMicro started two years ago initially even with relatively weak-breasted Intel Atom chips (only 32, later 64 bits) and finally 768 of them packed into a chassis. In January of this year followed the second generation of Freedom Fabrics with support for "Sandy Bridge" Nodes (Xeon E3-1200 v1). It even goes so far as to shut down parts of the CPUs for energy optimization when they're not needed, which you can not control with Intel's own chipsets.

At any rate, the Piledriver and Ivy Bridge nodes appear in November at the same time. The E3-1200 v2 does a bit more and uses less power than its predecessor. As in the past, SeaMicro uses the low-volt low-wattage version, specifically the "2.5 GHz E3-1265L v2". There are, however, only four cores, say it fit only 256 cores in the same 10U chassis. In addition, Intel restricts the main memory for all E3 Xeons to 32 GB.

The Freedom interconnect provides 10 gigabits per second for each server node to the fabric ASIC in the midplane; SeaMicro has developed the special chip himself and has it manufactured by TSMC in Taiwan. The chassis can carry 64 Gigabit or 16 10GE uplinks to the outside; however, SeaMicro and AMD have so far offered no coherence across multiple enclosures.

Finally, the price question: A basic configuration of the SM15000 with 64 Opteron nodes and basic configuration of memory, eight hard drives and 16 Gigabit Ethernet uplinks costs nearly 140, 000 dollars. The nodes can run either Windows or Linux as operating system or VMware ESXi or Citrix XenServer as hypervisor.