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AMD's Open 3.0 Platform Promises Big Gains

AMD's Open 3.0 Platform Promises Big Gains
By Jennifer LeClaire

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Powered by the recently announced AMD Opteron 6300 Series processors, Open 3.0 can be installed in all standard 19-inch rack environments without modification, as well as in Open Rack environments. The AMD Open 3.0 motherboard is a 16-inch by 16.7-inch board designed to fit into 1U, 1.5U, 2U or 3U rack height servers.
 


AMD on Wednesday launched Open 3.0 platform. Formerly code-named "Roadrunner," AMD said the new platform rethinks the server motherboard designed to the standards developed by the Open Compute Project.

The Open Compute Project Foundation is a community of engineers around the world whose mission is to design and enable the delivery of the most efficient server, storage and data center hardware designs for scalable computing.

"We became involved with the Open Compute Project very early as we saw a pervasive demand for simplified, energy-efficient servers," said Suresh Gopalakrishnan, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD's server business. "Our goal is to reduce data center power consumption and cost yet increase performance and flexibility -- we believe that AMD Open 3.0 achieves this."

An Industrywide Problem

AMD has pointed out an industrywide problem: Today's servers are designed with what it calls a "one size fits most" approach that incorporates many features and capabilities that can inefficiently utilize space and power. That, of course, increases cost. Many mega data centers have engineers developing optimized platforms with the minimum set of components for specific workloads. The desired result is a tailored solution with the ideal combination of power, space and cost.

AMD Open 3.0 promises "substantial gains" in computing flexibility, efficiency and operating cost. The new platform does this, AMD described, by simplifying motherboard design with a single base product to address multiple enterprise workloads, including high-performance computing, cloud infrastructure and storage. The design is optimized to eliminate features typically over-provisioned in traditional server offerings.

Powered by the recently announced AMD Opteron 6300 Series processors, Open 3.0 can be installed in all standard 19-inch rack environments without modification, as well as in Open Rack environments. The AMD Open 3.0 motherboard is a 16-inch x 16.7-inch board designed to fit into 1U, 1.5U, 2U or 3U rack height servers.

Open 3.0 features two AMD Opteron 6300 Series processors, each with 12 memory sockets, six Serial ATA (SATA) connections per board, one dual-channel gigabit Ethernet NIC with integrated management, up to four PCI Express expansion slots, a mezzanine connector for custom module solutions, one serial port and two USB ports.

A Major Win for AMD

Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told us that based on the specs, Open 3.0 is a highly flexible platform that can be used in a wide range of system solutions.

King offered a couple of examples. In an high-performance computing configuration, Open 3.0 can fit in a 1U chassis and supports 1 DIMM per channel, 6 SATA drives natively, up to 10 2.5-inch total drives with add-in card and up to two low-profile PCIe cards. And in a storage configuration, Open 3.0 fits in a 3U chassis and supports 3 DIMMs per channel, up to 35 2.5-inch SATA/SAS drives and up to four full-height PCIe cards.

"Overall, we consider this announcement a major win for AMD, since being first to market with an OCP-compliant motherboard could contribute significantly to the company's financial stability," King said. "That's certainly positive for AMD and its shareholders, but the Open 3.0 Platform should also be good news for the other vendors involved in the Open Compute Project and for their potential data-center customers."
 

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