AMD acquires Intel partner SeaMicro

AMD has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Intel ally SeaMicro, giving the chipmaker a 'dense' server fabric to sell to large web companies

AMD is to buy server maker SeaMicro, which has had a longstanding relationship with the chipmaker's rival Intel.

The $334m (£209m) acquisition was announced by Sunnyvale, California-based SeaMicro on Wednesday evening. AMD plans to offer SeaMicro servers based around Opteron processors in the second half of 2012. Intel has previously used SeaMicro as an example of an innovative partner.

The opportunity to combine AMD's processors with SeaMicro's fabric IP will result in unmatched cloud-centric server building blocks.

– SeaMicro

Prior to the acquisition, SeaMicro had specialised in servers based around Intel's Xeon and Atom processors. The "SeaMicro decision to use Intel was simply a resource decision," a SeaMicro spokeswoman told ZDNet UK on Thursday. "SeaMicro was small and had to start somewhere. Moving forward, the opportunity to combine AMD's processors with SeaMicro's fabric IP will result in unmatched cloud-centric server building blocks."

SeaMicro makes servers that fit hundreds of processor cores into single chassis, tying them together via a fabric interconnect technology that cuts each server card's component count to the minimum — memory; a 10GbE trans-server connection per socket; a SeaMicro application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) to pass information; and optional storage.

SeaMicro's last product announcement was a server with 64 quad-core Xeon E3s in a 10U chassis.

When asked whether SeaMicro would continue to develop Intel-based servers, the spokeswoman said "the only thing that's announced right now is Opteron, coming in the second half of the year".

AMD hopes to use SeaMicro's technology to help it produce dense servers targeted at large web companies working in search, social networking and video.

"SeaMicro solutions are currently deployed in multiple sites across the world," the company said in the statement. "AMD will continue to support all current SeaMicro customers while accelerating plans to deliver new platforms that combine AMD and SeaMicro technology and enable AMD's OEM partners to bring differentiated solutions to market."

The company expects to see earnings benefit from the SeaMicro business after its 2012 financial year.

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