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AMD acquires microserver firm

Posted: 06 Mar 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:server market? data center? cloud computing?

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement with microserver startup SeaMicro Inc. and is buying the startup for $334 million.

SeaMicro, a startup founded in 2007, formerly built only servers with Intel Corp.'s Atom processors. Just last month the company announced a new server based on Intel's Xeon processor.

AMD believes that the acquisition will accelerate its strategy to deliver disruptive server technology to its OEM customers serving cloud-centric data centers. Using 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, the company noted.

Lisa Su, AMD's senior vice president and general manager of global business units, said the combination of SeaMicro's technology and AMD's silicon would give AMD a unique ability to address the server market in years to come. "SeaMicro's server technology together with AMD's processor technology is a very strong combination," Su said.

AMD said it plans to offer the first SeaMicro servers based on its Opteron processors in the second half of this year. Su said AMD would continue to support the Intel-based servers and their customers. "But we really look to accelerate the use of AMD silicon, and we'll see those products by the end of the year," Su said.

The SeaMicro technology augments AMD's current server technology, which the company plans to continue supporting. "It's very complimentary," Su said.

"The fabric we've designed and the system we've built is today capable of handling any x86 processor, any ARM processor or any other processor for that matter," said Andrew Feldman," SeaMicro's CEO. Feldman will become general manager of AMD's newly created Data Center Server Solutions business.

Mark Papermaster, AMD's senior vice president and chief technology officer, said that AMD was intent on getting more involved in server computing and looked at several possible acquisitions in addition to considering AMD's own internal development capabilities. "When we sat down with SeaMicro, it was clear almost immediately that were was complete alignment between the technology they had and what we wanted to do at AMD," he said.

According to AMD, current servers using 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. Cloud data centers are projected to be the fastest growing segment of the server market through 2015, according to International Date Corp.

Following the terms of the agreement, $281 million of the $334 million purchase price would be paid in cash. AMD said it would not change its financial guidance for the year as a result of the acquisition.

"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, AMD's president and CEO, in a statement.

- Dylan McGrath
??EE Times

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