Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD ) has been busy on the server front. At Computex 2018 in Taipei, Lisa Su gave a brief, but compelling update on AMD’s server business. The “net – net” of this all is that EPYC is gaining momentum with OEM partners and cloud providers. And oh, by the way, the next generation EPYC system-on-a-chip (SoC), Zen 2, is in AMD labs. It will be sampling (testing by select partners & customers) in the second half of 2018 with a planned launch of 2019. Built on a 7 nanometer (nm) manufacturing process, EPYC will be leading the industry. Does this set up AMD for long-term success in the server space? Let’s dig a little deeper.
Cisco – it’s a big deal – bigger than you may think
Cisco recently announced the launch of the UCS C4200 multinode rack server chassis, capable of supporting up 4 UCS C125 M5 rack server nodes in a 2u form factor. The chassis provides power and cooling to these nodes that are well-suited for scale-out cloud and edge deployments. The specs on this server are incredible—up to 256 cores accessing up to 16TB of DDR4 RAM across a 2-rack unit (RU) form factor. While I don’t see many mid-market or small enterprise customers for this product, I believe Cisco will find success in the cloud service provider space.
It is important to note that this is the first AMD-based server platform for Cisco’s UCS portfolio. This signals Cisco’s understanding around the importance of performance and performance-per-dollar needs of today’s IT organizations. Further, by automating deployment, configuration and management through Intersight, Cisco has a powerful management story for distributed deployments.
Tencent – another AMD win in the cloud
Anybody who followed AMD’s launch of EPYC last year may remember that there was a big focus on cloud. A couple of months following launch, AMD issued a press release stating (among other things) that Tencent intended to deploy servers based on the EPYC SoC. Almost a year later, this intent has turned into reality.
Tencent has made compute instances based on EPYC SoCs available for 3-D rendering, genetic modeling, and e-commerce—quite a diversity of workloads. 3-D rendering and genetic modeling are perhaps the most interesting as these workloads can benefit from high performing, high core CPUs that are assisted by GPUs. However, the details seem scarce on what server platforms are being deployed and what sits in those platforms.