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5 Posts authored by: forrest.norrod Employee

As we approach the end of the year we have tremendous momentum and excitement building for AMD EPYC™ processors. Two weeks ago we were proud to have numerous partners with us at SC17 introducing EPYC to the HPC community. This week at HPE Discover, our teams will be showing off the latest EPYC-based system, the ProLiant DL385 Gen10 server.


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With the new DL385, we’re once again partnering with HPE to bring AMD to the best-selling server in the industry, and this latest version is breaking records. An AMD EPYC model 7601-based HPE DL385 Gen10 system scored 257 on SPECrate®2017_fp_base and a 1980 on SPECfp®_rate2006, both of which are higher than any other two socket system score published by SPEC®. We’re extremely proud of this performance, which is a testament to our floating point implementation in Zen and HPE’s platform leadership. This week at HPE Discover, we are also showing how we are changing the economics of virtualization with EPYC in the heart of the server market, delivering up to 50% lower cost per VM.



EPYC is substantially lowering the total cost of ownership for the datacenter and giving customers a real choice for the first time in nearly a decade. Clearly this has many in the industry very excited. Even our competitor is taking notice.


A lot of our competitor’s angst around EPYC vs Xeon has been at the top of the performance envelope, which of course is very relevant for certain types of high-performance applications, but not critical for the vast majority of the server market today. Our teams have taken the great Zen core and built a highly differentiated part with unique memory, I/O, and security capabilities. Put it together and we have performance leadership for the workloads we’ve targeted. But beyond those workloads, in the middle of the performance stack, where most of the server business sits, EPYC has incredible performance advantages over Xeon Skylake scalable processors for the majority of applications.


Serve The Home recently showed some very compelling data focused at the heart of the server market. When testing our 16 core EPYC 7301 family, the data shows that in the highest volume portions of the market EPYC delivers more cores, more memory bandwidth and a significant performance advantage over the Xeon Silver product line across multiple benchmarks.


Our partners appreciate the choice and differentiation that EPYC provides to their solutions. In addition to the HPE, Sugon, Supermicro and other solutions we’ve already announced, we’re working with Dell and many other OEM/ODMs to bring their first EPYC-based platforms to market. Three of the Super 7 mega datacenter providers have publicly announced plans to deploy EPYC-based products, including Baidu, Microsoft Azure and Tencent, and we have strong engagements with other major cloud providers.


I’m extremely proud of the AMD team and the EPYC products they have created. With EPYC we are restoring choice and innovation to the server market. Stay tuned, because this is just the beginning of an exciting time for EPYC and new era of choice for the datacenter market. We’ll have more big news to share soon.


Forrest Norrod is Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom Business Group at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

Every year it’s inspiring to see an eclectic group of students, scientists, researchers and technological innovators from the high performance computing (HPC) community come together at SuperComputing 2017 (SC17). It’s the one place where some of the brightest minds in computing can share ideas and map out of the future of cutting edge technologies.


At the heart of all the work and collaboration accomplished this week is a foundation set in mathematics and the ability of computers to handle a mind-boggling number of computations and an incredible amount of data. Modeling, simulation, and data analysis now underpin everything from protein folding and gene research to high particle physics and cosmology.  


When you think about math in the context of the datacenter and with high performance CPUs, more often than not you’re really talking about how you leverage the utility of floating point.


Uncovering the Utility of Floating Point


Earlier this year, we released our new family of high-performance server and datacenter processors, the AMD EPYC™ 7000 series. The EPYC processor is a highly-scalable CPU that includes a very powerful and capable floating point unit (FPU). The philosophy of the EPYC FPU is to deliver the most easily usable performance. Its unique co-processor architecture enables a high floating point instruction issue rate, great memory bandwidth, with energy efficiency to maintain a high frequency even when loaded. We support all the floating point instructions used by today’s systems, up through AVX2. Running existing codes or even the latest floating point benchmarks, the numbers speak for themselves: EPYC delivers incredible FP performance.


We define utility as usefulness over costs. It’s an idea that underpins computing technology, businesses and overall strategies. We’re working to provide and apply the technologies that let the HPC community do more with much less. When you do the math, we’re delivering an EPYC processer that runs at up to 3X* the performance per dollar than the competition. Whether you’re thinking about the immediate or long-term implications, it’s the utility that makes all the difference. And when you couple the EPYC CPU with the utility of the Radeon™ GPU, you can extend that even further.


Unlocking the Power of AMD at SC17: EPYC + RADEON INSTINCT


Although floating point is key to how we approach the next generation of CPUs, for massively vectorized workloads there is an even better choice: the power of today’s GPUs which far exceed any CPU on highly parallel applications. AMD offers leading compute-GPUs in our Radeon Instinct™ line. You can now pair the best of AMD in high-performance CPU and GPU with EPYC and Radeon Instinct to create a heterogeneous supercomputing solution that tackles real-world applications that floating point thrives in – from fluid dynamics and weather mapping to oil and gas exploration and more.


At SC17, we’re bringing the power of a combined EPYC and Radeon Instinct platform to the show floor with Project 47 (P47). Inventec’s P47 platform provides direct access to four Radeon Instinct GPUs through a single EPYC processor without the need for PCI switches, which removes design barriers and streamlines performance. The AMD-based platform then flexes its
scalability by contributing to 20 1P EPYC processor-based Inventec servers to produce a petaFLOPS of single-precision computing. By supporting both heterogeneous supercomputing systems and memory-bound CPU platforms, EPYC addresses several real-world applications to support safer, more productive operations.


Focusing on Math for the Masses


I found my inspiration in science and electronics early on as a student, and there’s a group of university students joining SC17 to compete in the Student Cluster Competition that we’re thrilled to help find their individual sparks.


AMD, along with Supermicro and Mellanox, is supporting a student team from Northeastern University. Using a system developed around EPYC and Radeon Instinct, the team will square off against international competitors to run a mix of known and unknown HPC codes around the clock over a couple days to test their high-performance skills.


The lessons learned from that competition will be invaluable. With any luck, the next-generation of visionaries will find their moment of math inspiration and use the high-performance technologies of today to define a more promising tomorrow.


*Based on SPECfp®_rate2006 scores published on as of October 25, 2017.  2 x EPYC 7601 CPU ($4,200 per processor at AMD 1ku pricing) in Sugon A620-G30, Ubuntu 17.04, x86 Open64 v4.5.2.1 Compiler Suite, 512 GB PC4-2666V-R memory, running at 2400  1 x 1TB SATA 7200RPM has a peak score of 1850 (base score 1670); versus 2P Xeon Platinum 8180M ($13,011 per processor per Cisco UCS C240 M5 system with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP2, ICC, 384GB PC4-2666V-R memory, 1x240GB SATA SSD score of 1830 (base score 1800). SPEC and SPECfp are registered trademarks of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation. See for more information. NAP-49

I’ve spent the majority of my career focused on making systems that weave the fabric of data into our lives. It’s critical that we do not simply create technology for technology’s sake, but that we create solutions to make a difference.


This is why I joined AMD almost three years ago. To be part of a team with the creativity and willingness to innovate and differentiate for our customers. To be a part of a team that would harness AMD’s heritage of innovation and disruption, anticipating customer demands to create more than a choice, but a better choice in high-performance CPUs.


AMD has a great history focused on bringing innovative products to market, and this month marks a strong continuation of that heritage. This is a huge moment for our entire industry as we launch a new family of high-performance server and datacenter processors, the AMD EPYC™ 7000-series, which will deliver greater performance than current solutions at every competitive price point.


The inventive design of EPYC achieves record-setting performance, with to up to 32 high-performance cores supported by a rich set of capabilities. All11488_epyc_02_02_0002_4K.jpg EPYC processors include:

  • Industry-leading memory bandwidth including 8-channels of DDR 4 memory
  • Unprecedented support for integrated, high-speed I/O with 128 lanes of PCIe® 3
  • Dedicated security subsystem that takes data encryption to the next level


EPYC represents a new, comprehensive approach to processors and system design that has been tailored to solve the unique challenges of the datacenter and today’s workloads. We’re incredibly proud of EPYC’s power and performance, and this platform will help companies optimize and right size in new ways. Single socket options with 32, 24 and 16 cores ensure customers new choice to maximize utilization and efficiency. They drive up to 20 percent lower cap-ex letting companies big and small to do more with less.


One of the principal goals for EPYC was to create a processor for the cloud era, tuned not only for the performance demands of modern scale-out software, but also able to meet the challenge of cloud security.  EPYC includes a Hardware Validated Boot capability that helps assure the user that the firmware in the system is free of malware.


AMD added unique encryption technology to further enhance security.  The Secure Memory Encryption (SME) feature allows an admin to encrypt all memory transactions leaving the processor. This enables a whole new level of protection against physical attacks and uniquely protecting even non-volatile memory DIMMS that would otherwise be vulnerable to being removed from the system and compromised.  A step beyond SME is Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV) which enables VMs or containers to encrypt themselves and their memory with unique keys, protecting VMs from each other or even from a rogue systems administrator.  SEV is truly security for the cloud era as it allows users to be more secure even in a multi-tenant cloud environment. Both SME and SEV are enabled via a cryptographic engine in the on-chip memory controller. This performs the encryption tasks with minimal impacts to application performance.


We know that product innovation is not enough. Any server must be supported with a global ecosystem of partners and customers and we are proud to be engaged with industry leaders including HPE, Dell, Supermicro, Lenovo, Microsoft Azure, Baidu, Dropbox, Sugon, Tyan, Asus, Gigabyte, Inventec, and Wistron. In addition, primary hypervisor and server operating system providers Microsoft, VMware, and Red Hat, are showcasing optimized support for EPYC, while key server hardware ecosystem partners like Samsung, Mellanox, and Xilinx are also featured in EPYC-optimized platforms.


EPYC is the processor that can tackle the toughest demands of the datacenter, whether you are talking about high-performance computing, the cloud, machine learning or big data and analytics. Today marks the start of a new era, not just for AMD, but for our customers, partners and the entire industry.


Forrest Norrod is Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom Business Group at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

It is clear that the datacenter has long been the lifeblood of large businesses, but it’s increasingly at the core of our culture and plays a central role in everyday life. Every interaction with the Internet and virtually every application you open on your phone relies on the compute and storage capabilities of a remote datacenter – a constant barrage of correlating, analyzing and delivering huge streams of data to people and devices all over the world.


At the core of every datacenter are the racks of servers running the code. The server is typically a non-descript looking box that has supported an incredible amount of innovation in software, with transformational streaming services and online transportation networks disrupting traditional business models and delighting users. But most surprisingly, all these fantastic new experiences run on server designs that are basically the same as they were 10 years ago – before that smart phone was in your pocket.


Last decade, AMD drove innovations that became the fundamental underpinnings of today’s server architecture. AMD firsts include support for x86 64-bit code; multiple processor cores on a single chip; high-performance, scalable interconnects that allows the system to scale up or down as needed, and integrated memory controllers that feed the cores. Virtualization technology is also fundamental today and AMD drove the first virtualization hardware support allowing the server to be sliced up in many different virtualized services that are easily deployed at scale.


It’s this heritage that brought me to AMD a little over two years ago, and this same ingenuity is fueling AMD to make its much-needed return to the datacenter market. AMD understands what it takes to build the modern server and soon we will deliver on that promise.


This week AMD is disclosing for the first time information on “Naples,” a server CPU based on the highly regarded, high-performance “Zen” core.  This 32-core, 64-thread CPU signals AMD's re-entry into the high-performance server market and our intention to once again be a significant player in the datacenter. The new AMD server processor exceeds today’s top competitive offering on critical parameters, with 45% more cores1, 60% more input2 / output capacity (I/O), and 122% more memory bandwidth3.


With up to 64 cores, 4 TB of memory, and 128 lanes of PCIe® connectivity, two-socket servers built with the AMD “Naples” processor will have the flexibility, performance and security to support workloads that once required 4-socket or larger server configurations. With this much capacity, organizations can support even more virtual machines per server in virtualized and cloud computing environments. In addition, they can process even more data in parallel, and execute even more high-performance computing workloads that require massive parallelism.


Take Control of Your Technology Future

As we approach the opening of the 2017 Open Compute Project Summit, we’re energized to once-again join the global community of technology leaders who also see the value in rethinking datacenter hardware to create more efficient, flexible and scalable solutions.


The server market supports industries that are rapidly innovating such as machine learning, software defined storage, web services and data analytics. Being able to effectively support growing demands is a must. “Naples” is a result of AMD focusing on maximizing data center advancements and reducing complexity in technology components to deliver greater choice, customization and cost savings. The response from customers and partners has been tremendous. We are incredibly excited to bring a truly balanced system to the market that reflects the name, heritage and vision of “Zen.” We’re looking forward to sharing more at the Open Compute Summit this week and continuing conversations with other technology leaders on what the future holds for next-generation data centers and how “Naples” works in an OCP world.


Forrest Norrod is Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom Business Group at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.


  1. AMD "Naples" processor includes up to 32 CPU cores versus the Xeon E5-2699A v4 processor with 22 CPU cores.  NAP-02
  2. AMD "Naples" processor offers up to 64 PCI Express high speed I/O lanes per socket, versus the Xeon E5-2699A v4 processor at 40 lanes per socket.  Note that the "Naples" pre-production processor used for this comparison is not yet certified as PCI Express-compliant. NAP-05
  3. AMD "Naples" processor supports up to 21.3 GB/s per channel with DDR4-2667 x 8 channels (total 170.7 GB/s), versus the Xeon E5-2699A v4 processor

I’m a hands-on guy and hobbyist when it comes to technology. Twenty years ago, I was perhaps an outlier ‘nerd,’ but today consumers of all levels are innovating technology and customizing applications to meet their unique needs. The “maker” community is vibrant. Students are now excited to be in STEM programs and it’s ‘cool’ to race robots. Open source software and hardware projects are democratizing and accelerating innovation. Grade school kids are writing cell-phone apps; 3D printers and incredibly powerful microcontrollers are becoming common. The uptake of technology innovation at the consumer level is unprecedented.  10746_Graphic_Forrest_Norrod_1200x600_R2 (002).png

Likewise, the datacenter 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.

These macro trends changing server dynamics are well known by insiders, but bear repeating:

  • 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 microservices through dynamic resource allocation.
  • Delivery of IT as a service has made the mega datacenter and the Cloud driving forces in technology innovation.

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, their applications, and their IT services, often from facilities thousands of miles away. Billion dollar businesses serve millions of customers simultaneously via server farms the size of several football fields. And, protecting consumer data is a number one concern touching every part of the ecosystem.

These trends and others are important to chip providers like AMD that must account for these changes in order to secure the market. At the processor level, datacenter innovation is leading toward some simple tenets:

  1. Data Security is Priority One. Securing data while work is being done is the emerging frontier of data security. Utilizing hardware for encrypting memory and virtual machines is the cutting edge of locking out unauthorized access.
  2. Processor Cores Matter. In a world of cloud computing, being able to deliver more useful work across more cores and their supporting resources equals more efficient provisioning of services to more users and lower TCO. Simple as that.
  3. Single Socket CPU Platforms Rising. Thanks to the move to more advanced chip manufacturing processes and the availability of more transistors, a single SoC (1P) server can now fill the need for many of today’s 2P server platforms. This is great news for both on-premises and off-premises customers of IT hardware.
  4. Heterogeneous Systems go Mainstream. GPUs and other accelerators supporting the CPU will become fundamental building blocks of computing. A host of new applications incorporating deep neural networks and machine learning, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality will be supported in the datacenter by combinations of GPUs, CPUs and FPGAs.

In August, AMD demonstrated its upcoming “Naples” processor for the first time. This 32-core, 64-thread CPU signals AMD’s re-entry back into the high-performance server market and our intention to once again be a significant player in the datacenter.  “Naples” is built around the new, ground up “Zen” x86 core that was 4 years in the making, with exceptional memory and I/O capability and an industry-leading security solution.  With 40 percent more instructions per clock expected, and simultaneous multithreading for the first time in an AMD server processor, we are very excited about the prospects for “Naples.”

As we look forward to launching “Naples” in the first half of this year, I and my team will be sharing more about AMD’s vision for the datacenter. It is designed with these transformative changes in mind. We look forward to starting a dialogue in the industry about choice and competition, the role of our products in that equation, and the partners who will help us change the dynamics of an industry. I hope you will join us!

Forrest Norrod is Senior Vice President and  General Manager of the Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom Business Group at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.