GigaOM’s Stacey Higginbotham addresses the likelihood that AMD is on the verge of announcing licensing an ARM core to head into the data center market with ARM chips as offerings. AMD’s invitation to its press event next Monday has referenced its “ambidextrous strategy” and those reading the tea leaves have interpreted this to mean that with PC sales heading south, AMD may finally diversify out of x86 and begin the process of selling ARM chips.
With Intel’s 64-bit Atom chips set to roll out later this year, AMD has to do something to drive further revenue in the data center space or risk another loss to Intel. With AMD’s SeaMicro acquisition in March, which was costly at $334 million, it makes sense that AMD would consider combining that fabric technology with a new chipset to at least license a great package to OEM’s or do the unthinkable: sell its own servers. SeaMicro CEO Andrew Feldman has told me on multiple occasions that its fabric technology is chip agnostic and it’s no secret that Linux based Tilera would love to have sold chips to SeaMicro. With SeaMicro’s tech in house, combining it with an ARM core would be easy.
I spoke with Karl Freund today at ARM server startup Calxeda, and our discussion focused on the reality that anyone can license an ARM core and build a chip. That’s not where the value is. The value is in the management software, the I/O, and the fabric technology that allows the networking of thousands of nodes, the kind of technology that makes massive parallel computing at low power work. AMD at least now has some of the technology that could distinguish it in the data center market.
AMD’s announcement is next Monday. Stay tuned.