Apparently, AMD's new executive team had some specifics in mind when they were talking about making some unconventional moves in the server market a few weeks back—especially the part about building a cloud server product based on an array of low-power Brazos-derived CPU cores. AMD has just announced its intention to acquire SeaMicro, the innovative maker of high-density servers. This is fresh news, so I'll drop a big chunk of the press release on you for now:
SUNNYVALE, Calif. — Feb. 29, 2012 – AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire SeaMicro, a pioneer in energy-efficient, high-bandwidth microservers, for approximately $334 million, of which approximately $281 million will be paid in cash. Through the acquisition of SeaMicro, AMD will be accelerating its strategy to deliver disruptive server technology to its OEM customers serving Cloud-centric data centers. With SeaMicro’s fabric technology and system-level design capabilities, AMD will be uniquely positioned to offer industry-leading server building blocks tuned for the fastest-growing workloads such as dynamic web content, social networking, search and video.
AMD’s server technology combined with SeaMicro technology provides customers with a range of processor choices and platforms that can help significantly reduce data center complexity, cost and energy consumption while improving performance. AMD plans to offer the first AMD Opteron™ processor-based solutions that combine AMD and SeaMicro technology in the second half of 2012. The company remains firmly committed to its traditional server business, and will continue to focus and invest in this area.
"By acquiring SeaMicro, we are accelerating AMD’s transformation into an agile, disruptive innovator capable of staking a data center leadership position," said Rory Read, president and CEO, AMD. "SeaMicro is a pioneer in low-power server technology. The unmatched combination of AMD’s processing capabilities, SeaMicro’s system and fabric technology, and our ambidextrous technology approach uniquely positions AMD with a compelling, differentiated position to attack the fastest growing segment of the server market."
SeaMicro technologies offer substantial advantages in large data center and Cloud environments. Cloud data centers are projected to be the fastest growing segment of the server market through 2015, according to IDC1. Current systems featuring SeaMicro technology typically use one quarter the power and take one sixth the space of traditional servers with the same compute performance, yet deliver up to 12 times the bandwidth per core.
Foremost among SeaMicro’s innovations is their supercompute fabric, which connects thousands of processor cores, memory, storage and input/output traffic. SeaMicro’s fabric supports multiple processor instruction sets. SeaMicro solutions are currently deployed in multiple sites across the world. 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.
"Cloud computing has brought a sea change to the data center -- dramatically altering the economics of compute by changing the workload and optimal characteristics of a server," said Andrew Feldman, SeaMicro CEO, who will become general manager of AMD’s newly created Data Center Server Solutions business. "SeaMicro was founded to dramatically reduce the power consumed by servers, while increasing compute density and bandwidth. By becoming a part of AMD, we will have access to new markets, resources, technology, and scale that will provide us with the opportunity to work tightly with our OEM partners as we fundamentally change the server market."
This move does seem to fit with AMD's new direction—and in some intriguing ways, too.