Monday, March 29, 2010

AMD - "Welcome to the World of 12 Cores"

AMD Opteron 6100 Server ProcessorAMD has kicked off this week by debuting its new "Magny-Cour" server platform series which includes the new Opteron 6100 8-core and 12-core processors. These are the world’s first 8- and 12-core x86 server processors and come with a host of new features including 4 memory channels, HyperTransport™ technology 3.0, a fourth HyperTransport technology link for better processor-to-processor communication in 4P servers, and new power management features that allow for increased performance when compared to previous generations. The chips themselves began shipping last month but AMD has waited until nearly the end of Quarter 1 to make them official so that Original Equipment Manufacturers(OEMs) would be ready with Opteron 6100-powered machines.

The Opteron 6000 platform targets the 2P and 4P market and is aimed to be used for virtualization, database, and high performance computing applications. Apart from the new CPUs, the Opteron platform features the G34 socket and 5600 Series chipset with I/O virtualization capability, HyperTransport 3.0 and PCI Express 2.0. The Opteron 6100 processors are manufactured on 45nm technology and boast four HyperTransport links, a 4 channel integrated DDR3 memory controller, up to 12MB of L3 cache, and is up to 88% faster than the previous generation of processors.

In today's economic climate, AMD has decided to downplay maximum performance in favor of improved power consumption and a cheaper MSRP. Customers are simply looking for more, not less, in their IT dollar and AMD boasts maximum performance. When placed next to servers of comparable power, competitors fall short in pricing. Based on this graph, consumers are paying 42% more money for the honor of a slower processor. In the power consumption field, AMD clearly shows their efficiency by beating out an Intel 130W Thermal Power Design (TDP) part with their own 80W Average Power Consumpution (ACP) part in terms of performance. Effectively AMD has doubled the cores while staying in the same power and thermal range as previous generations.

In addition to AMD's aggressive 2P pricing, they have upped the value and stripped away the “4P tax.” Long gone are the days when customers are required to pay a premium in order to buy a processor capable of scaling up to 4 CPUs in a single platform. As of today, the 4P "tax" from AMD is effectively $0 but the same cannot be said for other competitors.

"As AMD has done before, we are again redefining the server market based on current customer requirements," said Patrick Patla, vice president and general manager, Server and Embedded Divisions, AMD. "The AMD Opteron 6000 Series platform signals a new era of server value, significantly disrupts today’s server economics and provides the performance-per-watt, value and consistency customers demand for their real-world data center workloads."

The Opteron 6000 platform has already been adopted by HP, Dell, Acer Group, SGI and Cray with many more expected.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fujitsu Introduces Xeon Based Primergy System

Following the release of Intel's next generation Xeon 5600 server processor, Fujitsu America has joined the ranks of server partners looking towards the cloud. The Japanese based Fujitsu plans to roll out its new Xeon 5600 equipped Primergy systems through its American counterpart specifically targeting cloud computing environments.

The Primergy CX1000 system can hold up to 38 of the 1U CX1000 rack systems which, according to Jon Rodriguez, senior product manager for Primergy at Fujitsu America, allows for a more efficient high-density computing system. In addition, the Primergy systems sport a new cabinet design featuring shared power distribution and new cooling components. The motivation behind this new design was to eliminate traditional "hot aisle - cold aisle" setups seen in many datacenters and to allow the Fujitsu cabinets to be placed back-to-back.

Rather than placing a power supply on each rack, Fujitsu chose to instead implement a central power supply that will feed each individual rack. Also, the backs of the cabinets have been sealed off and large fans and exhaust vents are now located on the top of the server. Like previously mentioned, these racks can be placed back to back allowing for a more efficient use of space in the data center.

According to Fujitsu, these cabinets are up to 20 percent more power efficient than other comparable server systems due to their Cool-Central design which dictates how air flows throughout the cabinet. Essentially this allows the system to separate heat from various components and dictates where fans are placed for optimum air flow. Target markets for the CX1000 are going to primarily revolve around cloud computing providers and hosts, businesses looking to reduce costs by deploying their own cloud servers, Web 2.0 environments, and high-performance computing markets.

The Primergy CX1000 systems will be available from Fujitsu America resellers by the end of march. A fully loaded rack with 38 servers, a single processor per socket, and 16GB of memory will run in the ballpark of $89,000 per rack. Of course, price will increase as more CPUs, hard drives, and memory is added.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Netapp's New Cloud Computing Management Solutions

Faced with today's increased economic pressures, many IT organizations are turning towards cloud computing as a means to help reduce costs and improve efficiencies in their data centers. Service providers play a very important role in this migration to the cloud by helping customers understand these benefits and by delivering a wide range of IT services via the cloud. Last week Netapp unveiled new design guides and capabilities geared specifically towards service providers with the goal of helping them deliver greater value to their cloud customers. Furthermore company officials said their new tools will fulfill the dual role of delivering cloud applications and services to their enterprise clients while also increasing functionality and security for service providers building their own cloud environments.

NetApp Service-Oriented Infrastructure (SOI): The SOI leverages NetApp storage and serves as a standardized and unified infrastructure. This gives service providers the ability to consume and deploy storage, bandwidth, and resources in a repeatable manner which helps speed time to market, improve flexibility, reduce costs, and increase service levels for their customers.

Data Protection as a Service (DPaaS): NetApp now provides a design guide that enables service providers to rapidly and effectively deploy archive and disaster recovery services. This includes NetApp technologies such as FlexClone for improved disaster recovery testing, SnapLock for compliance, and MultiStore for secure multi-tenancy. This DPaaS cloud design guide will help service providers reduce costs and complexities as well as increase flexibility.

Backup/Recovery as a Service (BRaaS): NetApp has teamed with Asigra, a leading provider of cloud backup and recovery software in order to quickly and efficiently deploy BRaaS solutions to providers. The Asigra Cloud Backup software runs on the NetApp SOI, combining to offer a truly scalable and secure backup recovery solution for the cloud.

NetApp Open Management: NetApp's open management capabilities now allow service providers to leverage NetApp's storage capabilities, regardless of whether service providers use NetApp or another IT service's virtualization framework. This enables service providers to link their IT service management and orchestration portals easily to NetApp's storage automation engine for seamless storage and protection services.

"NetApp has a proven track record of successfully teaming with leading service providers to power their cloud service offerings," Patrick Rogers, NetApp's vice president of solutions and alliances, said in a statement. "Our strategy in this space is to enable the success of our solution partners, not compete with them, and through them provide a broad and open set of industry cloud services for enterprise IT customers."

For more reading see: Why Rent A File Server.

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