AMD exec at Structure 2013: The one-size-fits-all hardware era is over

AMD exec at Structure 2013: The one-size-fits-all hardware era is over

Summary: "For a long time in this industry, we just sat around for a more efficient processor to come out and put that on a motherboard. Those days are over," according to an AMD executive.

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The datacenter world has hit an inflection point so sharp that it will demand serious changes for the way IT gets done -- starting with the acceptance that the one-size-fits-all server CPU just won't cut it anymore, according to AMD general manager Andrew Feldman.

Speaking at GigaOm's annual Structure summit on Wednesday morning, Feldman outlined a number of these changes coming, including embracing open source technology.

"We need to invent more efficient servers -- not just the CPUs," said Feldman, "For a long time in this industry, we just sat around for a more efficient processor to come out and put that on a motherboard. Those days are over."

But he started off by demonstrating just how much the datacenter touches each consumer without him or her necessarily realizing it on a daily (if not minute-to-minute) basis.

Feldman instructed each person in the audience to turn off their phone. Whether they did so or not, he explained that this cuts them off from the cloud, quipping that their smartphones and tablets were then just glorified "Angry Birds" players.

"That's the point. What you want to do with that device is get to the cloud," said Feldman.

What is even more interesting, Feldman continued, is that these mobile devices "are very good at displaying the work done elsewhere."

He explained that when you look at the client side of the datacenter it is pushing the demand for compute to datacenter, which enables client side devices to do "anything you want."

"On the client side, it is not about CPU performance," Feldman observed, arguing that by looking at the number of tablets scattered throughout the keynote hall, that's proof of this claim.

Feldman posited that the client side is about interaction, graphics and experience. He suggested that this is why Apple promotes design aspects such as the Retina Display over other internal parts because that has the biggest impact on the experience, driving the product forward.

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On the server side, this is creating tremendous change as well.

But Feldman pointed out that starts with not only transforming the machines but also the buildings that house them.

Feldman described that we used to put datacenters near urban environments, but now they're in places such as Eastern Washington and rural Oregon to conserve power in these "extremely engineered buildings."

"The vast majority of the work [the datacenter] is doing is simple, paralyzed work that was generated on the client side," Feldman said, explaining this is what Google, Facebook, and eBay do -- they generate work for servers.

He asserted that work both provides and requires a different kind of server, such as HP's Moonshot or Dell's Viking technologies.

Feldman reiterated that requires a whole number of new machines -- but not the same old architecture.

"We need to invent more efficient servers -- not just the CPUs," said Feldman, "For a long time in this industry, we just sat around for a more efficient processor to come out and put that on a motherboard. Those days are over."

"We know how we're going to get to the rest of the world. We're going to get to them on their phone," Feldman predicted, "But we know the phone doesn't have a ton of compute on it."

Nevertheless, Feldman still noted this requires a new, more efficient processor as we start to match workloads to processor types.

At AMD, Feldman said that the chip maker believes this calls for a single-socket processor. In the future, AMD believes it's going to be an ARM processor.

The growing demand on the datacenter isn't going to stop, with Feldman citing that a third of the global population is already connected to the Internet.

As for the other two thirds?

"We know how we're going to get to the rest of the world. We're going to get to them on their phone," Feldman predicted, "But we know the phone doesn't have a ton of compute on it."

The bottom line, according to Feldman, is that the content will be delivered to the phone wirelessly -- but the work will be done in the datacenter.

Screenshots via GigaOm Structure (Livestream)

Topics: Cloud, Collaboration, Data Management, Enterprise Software, Enterprise 2.0

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8 comments
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  • AM I THE ONLY ONE READING THIS AND THINK WTF HE IS TALKING ABOUT?

    N/T
    vl1969
  • Sorry for previose post but it was my first reaction to this BS

    except for him I gather, no one was sitting a waiting for more efficient processor.
    industry in general have always evolve in search of more afficient hardware in total, not just CPU. and DataCenter IT was always on the lookout for stereamlined , more efficient hardware to use as DC is very resource hungry as it is.
    that is why we have blade servers configuration today.
    they were developed to allow for more flexible back bone setup for all IT but especially DC. you buy as much as you need today but plan your setup for future capacity expansion tomorow.

    what we need is changes in how the hardware is build and interconnected. we need to have hardware that is more modullar in nature, and more easyly expandable/upgradable than it is today.
    not lolcked into hard configuration as it is now.
    a more like IBM mainframe style setup where I can by a big box with a backplane and just stick more RAM and CPU expancion boards into it as needed. and add more PSU power if needed as well.

    currently thin Blade servers allow for gradual expansion described, but they are not very efficient as you get alot of extra things with a module. like whole MB/chipset, collers
    extra PSU or even 2 PSUs.
    vl1969
    • read first

      I don't think you read the article very well...... everything you just said feeds directly into what he's talking about. I also doubt you've read anything on freedom frabic because the modular upgradeable configuration is exactly what amd is implementing right now. The bought up sea micro just to have the technology for their servers which contain your choice of hardware including offering intel chips. Amds goal in this is just simply to add arm to their freedom fabric as another option.
      tekunetsu
      • I don't think you are right about this.

        Some of what he is saying fit in with my reply, but not all.

        QUOTE FROM THE BLOG :
        "For a long time in this industry, we just sat around for a more efficient processor to come out and put that on a motherboard. Those days are over,"

        WHAT I SAID:
        except for him I gather, no one was sitting a waiting for more efficient processor.
        industry in general have always evolve in search of more efficient hardware in total, not just CPU. and DataCenter IT was always on the lookout for streamlined , more efficient hardware to use as DC is very resource hungry as it is.


        and I ment it. although I have never worked directly in DataCenter my self, I know a few people who do work there,
        I have dealt with a few DC support personel over the years as well.

        and this market segment do have modularity and flexible upgradability to some extent even today.
        BUT it all comes with a price. and a steap one.
        AMDs FF design helps with that, sure, but it is not as new concept as they are trying proove. it's just a better implementation of an old concept. which is still an improovement and a good one.
        as it is, AMD exec(s) are trying to look and sound as arogant and cocky as Apple exec(s) tooting their own horn over a marginal improvment of old idea as the best thing since the sliced bread.
        it's just ratle my chains for some reason.

        I like AMD and their products. for the last ohh let me see 18 years since I got into IT, I have prefered AMD PC over Intel.
        specifically for their better BUS speeds and easyer CPU upgrades as they ,un like Intel, do not change the soucket configuration as often and their new souckets more often than none backwards compartible to an extent of atleast 1 or 2 generation back.
        vl1969
  • To amd

    No we do not want the cloud or need it is unsafe and is what we call hacker heaven and I have had my info hacked 3 times soi say about the cloud hell no
    jtdvd58
  • I see a need, in the short-term future, for a fully capable computer,

    that can process the data locally, and will just transmit the data which the user deemed necessary to transmit.

    IOW, back to the future.

    A centralized server doing all the processing, using the data transmitted to it from the clients (cellphones/smartphones/tablets/), will not be what consumers want. Consumers will discover that, when their communications lines go down, what they have in their hands, are just bricks (that can only play Angry Birds, like the AMD exec said). That is taking huge steps backwards, when the consumer didn't have control of his data, and didn't have his/her computing device.

    The better plan should be to take a few steps back, and allow the local computing device contain all of the data, and do all of the processing, and then allow the communications capabilities of that device to transmit only the data that the consumer sees fit to send.

    There exists a current need, for a company that will say to all consumers that, they will respect their privacy and their data and their rights, and that, that company will not hold on to people's data, and will just be a "router" for that data. When every major internet company is going to the cloud to handle people's "needs", there should continue to exist a company that goes in the opposite direction, where people have control of everything, and just use the internet to communicate with other people (e-mail, chatting, etc) and to access news and information. Respect people's privacy, and no collection of personal data, and no sharing of anything that is saved. No processing on behalf of the client device. The server should be there only to share whatever data it collects that is not related to people's daily lives. IOW, news and information lookups (search). Even e-stores (eBay, Amazon, etc), should not be holding data about consumers and their transactions, unless the consumers give consent for the storing of that data.

    People will see the need for the independent computing device, when the first widespread and long-term outage of the internet occurs. But, people are seeing the need for the local devices to have control of their processing and data. the NSA collection (demanded from Google and Microsoft and Apple, etc) of people's data should be enough of a warning that, the cloud is a dangerous way to do "our computing".
    adornoe@...
    • Re: when the first widespread and long-term outage of the internet occurs

      Where do you think the Internet Off-Switch is?
      ldo17
      • Stupid question...

        The "internet off switch" is anytime a disaster strikes, either man-made or natural. In case you are new to humanity, let me inform you; those kind of disasters do happen, and they happen everywhere and more often than people think.

        Also, the "off switch" is something which intrusive governments have at their disposal, and we're read even here about how Obama and congress have discussed giving the president an "off switch".

        Perhaps you need to read more or watch the news more. Hanging out at ZDNet exclusively, will turn you into an as-z.
        adornoe@...