WE AT AMD ARE INNOVATING AT THE PROCESSOR LEVEL
Forrest Norrod, SVP and GM- Enterprise, Embedded & Semi-Custom Business Group (EESC Business Group), AMD, in an exclusive interview to Dataquest talks about the key trends shaping the data center space and how AMD is pionering new innovations. In this role, Norrod is responsible for managing all aspects of strategy, business management, engineering and sales for EESC businesses. He has more than 25 years of technology industry experience across a number of engineering and business management roles at both the chip and system level. Excerpts:
How do you see the evolution of Datacenters to what it is today - how has it changed the IT infrastructure market?
The Data center is undergoing radical change, driven by the demand from consumers and cloud servers, and enabled by open source development. The traditional tower tucked in a corner humming away and hosting everyone’s e-mail and files is being quickly supplemented or replaced by cloud hosting. There are a number of macro trends changing server dynamics.
Virtualization is decoupling users, operating systems and applications from the hardware underneath; containers are taking this a step further by enabling a massive number of micro services through dynamic resource allocation. These technologies enable easier application deployment and allow apps to be scaled up or down nearly instantaneously as demand changes.
Delivery of ‘IT as a service’ has made mega datacenters an efficient alternative to owning IT hardware. The growth of off-premise IT infrastructure means companies with tens, hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands of employees may not own a single server. They lease their infrastructure, applications, and IT services, often from facilities thousands of miles away. Billion dollar businesses serve millions of customers simul- taneously via server farms the size of several football fields that can operate with incredible efficiency. Of course protecting customer’s data is a number one concern touching every part of the ecosystem. We at AMD are innovating at the processor level to account for these changes in order to power a highly scalable, secure data center.
From a market perspective, what is your assessment of the India market - how is the market classified and what are the key growth drivers?
India is a critical region for data center market growth. As this country of 1 billion becomes highly digitized, organisations need robust, secure datacenters to store trillions of bites of data being generated each day. India is poised to become the second largest data center market in Asia-Pacific by 2020 on the back of government’s digitization initiatives and the increasing penetration of internet connectivity. According to IDC, the overall server market in India witnessed a year-over-year increase of 60% in terms of revenue to reach $304.6 million in Q2 2017 versus $190.4 million in Q2 2016. Data driven sectors like BFSI, Telecom, E-commerce, Manufacturing, IT & ITeS, and Government etc. are beginning to rely on third party data center.
What is AMD’s play in the Datacenter market?
We build processors, CPU’s and GPU’s that power a Datacentre. We are the only company who build both! In fact the 64-bit x86 processor was first introduced by AMD. In the last six to seven years, while cloud computing has become all prevalent, server technology itself had remained stagnant. Earlier this year, we launched ‘EPYC’ – our 32-core, 64-thread CPU to challenge the status quo. It marked our re-entry into the high performance server market and our intense focus to once again become a significant player in the data center. EPYC is built around a new, grounds up “Zen” x86 core that was 4 years in the making. It has exceptional memory and I/O capability and an industry-leading security solution.
EPYC, combined with our Radeon Instinct GPU has brought innovation and competition back to the datacenter market. Radeon Instinct products are designed to be the building-blocks for a new era of Deep Learning and HPC data centers. We have designed and optimized Radeon Instinct server accelerator products and software platforms to bring customers a cost-effective machine learning alternative. The Radeon Instinct products are also ideal for data-centric HPC-class systems in academic, government lab, energy, life science, financial, automotive, and other industries.
The world’s leading data center service providers including Microsoft Azure, Baidu, Tencent, JD.com, 1&1, Bloomberg, Dropbox and LexisNexis have endorsed EPYC. We also have the largest server manufacturers including HPE, Dell, Asus, Gigabyte, Inventec, Lenovo, Sugon, Supermicro, Tyan, and Wistron starting to use EPYC. We at AMD are very positive about gaining significant market share in the data center market in the coming years.
What are the key elements that go in the creation of energy efficient data centers?
The biggest waste of power at data centers is due to underutilization of servers. The second biggest reason is inefficient servers. Many IT organizations purchase 2-socket servers and only populate 1-socket. Others purchase 2-socket servers, not because they need the compute capability, but because they need more I/O and/or memory capacity than what is available on current single-socket servers.
AMD is helping address these problems by making energy efficiency a core design tenant of our processor architecture and with intelligent power management. The newly launched AMD EPYC processor enables no-compromise 1-socket servers with up to 32 cores, 8 memory channels and 128 PCIe 3.0 lanes enabling capabilities and performance previously available only in 2-socket architectures. The ‘Performance per watt” benchmark of EPYC is unparalleled to any other processor available in the market. With EPYC, the world’s leading data center providers can further reduce their power consumption.
——FORREST NORROD, SVP and GM- Enterprise, Embedded & Semi-Custom Business Group (EESC Business Group), AMD