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Advanced Micro Devices is announcing today that it has designed its standard server motherboard to be more modular and open under the AMD Open 3.0 platform.

That platform, previously code-named Roadrunner,” is a rethinking of the server motherboard to match the standards developed by the Open Compute Project, which is a consortium run by big data center customers such as Facebook and Goldman Sachs as well as server component vendors such as Intel and Arista Networks. AMD hopes the redesign will help it gain market share in server chips, one of the most lucrative computing platforms in the enterprise.

The Open Compute Project was formed to improve the efficiency of servers and to enable data center operators to avoid being locked into solutions provided by component vendors. AMD’s Open 3.0 platform aims to make servers more flexible, efficient, and simple. AMD is targeting markets including high-performance computing, cloud infrastructure, and storage.


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“AMD for their 3.0 spec really listened closely to what members were asking for,” said Patrick Moorhead, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. “What they came back with was a configurable solution for high performance, general-purpose and storage workloads. AMD really needs a boost in the server space and this could help.”

Many servers are designed with a one-size-fits-most approach. But they can be inefficient when handling unique work loads. AMD is providing tailored solutions with the right combination of power, space and cost, said Suresh Gopalakrishnan, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD’s server business, in an interview with VentureBeat.

“This is going to influence how our customers purchase servers in the future,” he said. “They want their data centers to be as efficient as possible. We are launching the first truly open, modular server. It is exciting for our customers. They are demanding this kind of openness.”

The result will be a lot like putting standard engines or steering wheels into cars. Now application suites will run across different servers from different manufacturers. That gives server administrators more management flexibility.

The AMD solution is currently being evaluated by Fidelity Investments and Goldman Sachs.“This is a realization of the Open Compute Project’s mission of ‘hacking conventional computing infrastructure,’” said Frank Frankovsky, chairman of the Open Compute Foundation and vice president of hardware design and supply chain at Facebook. “What’s really exciting for me here is the way the Open Compute Project inspired AMD and specific consumers to collaboratively bring our ’vanity-free’ design philosophy to a motherboard that suited their exact needs.”

The AMD platform includes the recently announced the recently announced AMD Opteron 6300 Series processors. It can be installed in standard 19-inch racks, and it can fit one, two, or three processor servers. Each server has 12 memory sockets (4 channels with 3 DIMMs each), 6 Serial ATA (SATA) connections per board, a 1 dual channel gigabit Ethernet NIC with integrated management, up to four PCI Express expansion slots, a mezzanine connector for custom module solutions,2 serial ports and 2 USB ports. Specific PCI Express card support is dependent on usage case and chassis height.

The design supports add-on technology from Broadcom and Mellanox. Tyan and Quanta are making the board. More manufacturers are pending.




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