SeaMicro scores major deal with Verizon

AMD owned low-power server maker SeaMicro has scored a major deal, lining up Verizon which will exclusively use SeaMicro servers to roll out a new cloud computing service. Verizon will use SeaMicro servers that use Intel Xeon and AMD chips, showing less interest in low power than in the technological aspects of SeaMicro’s proprietary fabric. From AMD’s perspective, this is a win in the sense that SeaMicro is operating as a channel through which to get its chips into major customers’ hands.

Don Clark at The Wall Street Journal writes:

Surprisingly, power and space savings aren’t the main reason Verizon worked with SeaMicro, though those are nice attributes to have, says John Considine, chief technology officer at Verizon Terremark, the unit that takes its name from the carrier’s acquisition of the cloud provider Terremark.

Rather, Considine says, his company set out to address issues that have made most cloud services unattractive for corporate customers. One problem stems from the way users’ computing jobs are managed on networks of standard servers.

Cloud providers, such as Amazon Web services, usually exploit a concept known as “multi-tenancy.” That means that each job doesn’t get its own server or networking connections; instead, many programs are run on each machine to save money on hardware, like the way tenants are housed together in an apartment building…..Processors in SeaMicro systems exchange data over a proprietary set of networking connections, or fabric, that essentially assigns each job a dedicated data pathway to avoid the bottleneck. “What we do is provide each tenant with their own exit and onramp,” Feldman says. “Customer traffic is not commingled.”

SeaMicro has been trumpeting its fabric for years, pouring tens of millions into that R&D. The major loser here actually isn’t Intel. It’s companies like Dell, Cisco, HP that don’t have the needed IP to deliver new product to increasingly sophisticated customers. It appears Verizon actually got access to SeaMicro’s IP over the past two years so that Verizon could write better software.

It’ll be interesting to see if Verizon can use the tech to capture part of the cloud market, and bring in customers that haven’t been satisfied with the likes of AWS.


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