Verizon to base next-gen cloud on AMD SeaMicro servers

Verizon plans to transition seven of its 53 data centers to AMD SeaMicro hardware in order to power "the world's most resilient, flexible, secure, and scalable infrastructure platforms."
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

AMD's decision to buy the SeaMicro startup last year for $334 million might be getting ready to pay off as Verizon chooses the platform to power its cloud computing service.

SeaMicro servers and storage equipment will be used by Verizon to build a new cloud computing service that the company claims has been designed from the ground up to create "the world's most resilient, flexible, secure, and scalable infrastructure platforms to transform the way business gets done."

"We reinvented the public cloud from the ground up to specifically address the needs of our enterprise clients," said John Considine, chief technology officer at Verizon Terremark. "We wanted to give them back control of their infrastructure – providing the speed and flexibility of a generic public cloud with the performance and security they expect from an enterprise-grade cloud. Our collaboration with AMD enabled us to develop revolutionary technology, and it represents the backbone of our future plans."

This deal, which AMD claims has been in the pipeline for two years, and Andrew Feldman, who led the startup and is now corporate vice president and general manager for servers for AMD, claims that this is "a dream come true."

While other cloud providers make use of a concept called "multi-tenancy" to run multiple jobs on a single server, the SeaMicro solution is to assign each job a dedicated data pathway to avoid bottlenecks.

"What we do is provide each tenant with their own exit and onramp," Feldman told The Wall Street Journal. "Customer traffic is not commingled."

The advantage that SeaMicro offers is the ability to cram a huge number of cores into a system, and have then consume a fraction of the power and space of a traditional server. A rack of 10 SeaMicro servers can be home to as many as 512 compute cores. And these aren't ARM processors either, but instead full-power x86 chips.

Initially, SeaMicro servers ran Intel Atom processors. But now they are complemented by Intel Xeon and AMD Opteron parts, and it these higher-power parts that Verizon chose to power its cloud.

Verizon currently runs a total of 53 data centers around the world that for part of its cloud operations, and initially seven of them will offer the new cloud service based on the SeaMicro technology.

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